ALBANY – Nate Oats isn't going anywhere, at least in the immediate future.
Oats confirmed after the UB women's 79-63 loss to South Carolina on Saturday that his agent had spoken with Pittsburgh about its open head job but indicated that the talks were dead and he looked forward to staying in Buffalo.
"There's nothing going on," said Oats, who sat among the UB fans with his wife, Crystal. "Right now, I'm happy to be the Bulls coach. We got a great roster coming back and like I said last week, it'd have to be life-altering and there's nothing going on right now, as far as that goes."
Early in the week, Oats surfaced as a candidate for the Pitt job, which became vacant when Kevin Stallings was fired after the Panthers went winless in the ACC. Stallings had four years left on his contract, which had $9.4 million remaining. Washington's Mike Hopkins was also said to be under consideration. On Friday, the name of St. Bonaventure headman Mark Schmidt was thrown into the mix.
Pitt was said to have offered Danny Hurley $3.5 million a year to leave URI. Hurley eventually took the UConn job for a reported $3.1 million a year. So the schools in the power conferences have the financial resources to lure the top mid-major coaches away. Oats recently signed a five-year contract extension worth a total of about $3 million, with a $1 million buyout. Everyone has a price, which Oats didn't deny.
"I was a high school teacher five years ago," Oats said. "I didn't grow up with money. If somebody came in and, I mean, I've still got a family and kids. If there's something ... but there's nothing."
It sounds as if the money wasn't quite large enough to make Oats leave a team that has made three MAC titles in four years, and will be heavily favored to win again next season. Oats returns all but two of the players who beat Arizona in the first round of the NCAAs and has his best recruiting class coming in.
"Really, there's a part of me that kind of feels relieved," he said. "I really want to coach this team next year in a bad way. They're an unbelievable team. We're going to be better than a lot of high-major schools next year.
"Even if the money wherever may be better than here – there's plenty of places you can get it – you still got to have a quality of life. When you're a basketball coach, you still got to win games. We're going to be winning a lot of games next year. So I'm happy where I'm at and I'm glad I'll be back here next year."
Of course, if some school came along with a truly "life-altering" pitch, you never know.