University at Buffalo fans can breathe a little easier about the near-term future of the successful men's basketball program.
The university announced Thursday it signed coach Nate Oats to a five-year contract extension, through the 2023 season.
Oats has a 61-38 career record over the past three seasons and took UB to the NCAA Tournament in his first season as head coach in 2016. The Bulls are top-seeded and 24-8 entering Friday's Mid-American Conference semifinal game against Kent State.
Oats was named MAC Coach of the Year on Tuesday.
"We are very pleased Nate will remain at UB to continue the great success the men's basketball program has achieved under his leadership," said UB interim athletic director Kathy Twist in a statement. "He has proven himself to be a tremendous leader on and off the court and a highly respected member of the UB community and the Mid-American Conference."
"I want to thank Kathy Twist and President Satish Tripathi for their confidence in both our staff and our program," Oats said. "We are extremely proud of the accomplishments we have had over these past few years and look forward to continuing to grow the men's basketball program here at Buffalo."
Oats, formerly one of the top high school coaches in Michigan, was hired by former UB coach Bobby Hurley in part because of his recruiting connections. Some of Oats' recruits helped UB get to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in Hurley's second and final season with the Bulls.
Oats and his staff have continued to recruit well. The entire current team was recruited by his staff. And UB has another highly regarded class of high school players coming for next season. They include Rochester's Jeenathan Williams, a 6-foot-7 small forward, and Ronaldo Segu, a point guard from Orlando, Fla. Williams at one time held offers from Marquette, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Rhode Island, among others, according to 247Sports.com. Segu was rated the 14th best player in that state and 38th in his position in the country by ESPN.
"I love this group of players that I get to coach every day and am excited to continue to lead this group," Oats said. "Crystal and I have enjoyed raising our family in Western New York and we are glad that we can continue to do so in such a special place."