University at Buffalo coach Nate Oats was named men's basketball coach of the year in the Mid-American Conference.
Oats, in his third season at UB, has led the Bulls to a 23-8 record. UB won the MAC regular-season title with a 15-3 record and begins play in the MAC Tournament at noon Thursday in Cleveland with a quarterfinal game against Central Michigan. The award was decided on a vote of the MAC's 12 coaches.
Toledo's Tre'Shaun Fletcher, who ranked third in the conference in scoring and fourth in rebounding, was voted player of the year.
UB placed third in the MAC last season and suffered the graduation losses of its top player, Blake Hamilton, as well as its No. 3 scorer, Willie Conner.
However, Oats and his staff once again proved their recruiting acumen by reloading the roster with the key additions of senior point guard Wes Clark, a transfer from Missouri, and junior college wing Jeremy Harris. Clark had played for Oats at the Detroit area's Romulus High School. Harris was a highly touted player from Gulf Coast College in Florida. He had been the No. 8-rated prospect in North Carolina coming out of high school. Oats, in fact, recruited the entire UB roster.
UB is 60-38 in Oats' three seasons. The last UB coach to win coach of the year honors was Reggie Witherspoon in 2012.
Coach of the Year should really be a Program Award. Great assistants and great players make or break a team. We have an unbelievable staff and high-character, unselfish, really talented players so congrats to all of them!
— Nate Oats (@nate_oats) March 7, 2018
Story topics: UB men's basketball