CLEVELAND – Nate Oats will remain coach of the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team.
Oats and the university have agreed to a contract extension, which began Thursday and will run through March 31, 2024. The contract extension will pay Oats a base salary of $837,000 a year, including $225,000 that will be raised through gifts that are designated to the men's basketball program.
Oats and UB agreed to a contract extension prior to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in a year, and helps the Bulls retain their highest-profile coach. Oats is 92-42 in four seasons as head coach at UB, and he has led the Bulls to two NCAA Tournament berths and two MAC Tournament championships since he took over as head coach in 2016.
Oats’ success at UB made him a prime candidate for coaching jobs that could come about in the next few weeks.
Instead, the new agreement makes Oats the highest paid coach in the Mid-American Conference.
“I didn’t want to leverage them out for every last penny, and that was never my intention, if they came with one offer and we countered with an increase,” Oats said. “We agreed, and it wasn’t like we were going back and forth. It was really easy. Mark (Athletic Director Alnutt) wanted to get it done, I told Rick (Smith), my agent, ‘I don’t really want to move. Let’s hammer this thing out.' We did it last year, the same way.”
The new contract terms, released Thursday by UB, increase Oats' salary and his bonuses. Oats will receive a $75,000 bonus if the Bulls win the MAC regular-season championship and $75,000 if the Bulls win the MAC Tournament; he originally received bonuses of $50,000 for each of those wins. Oats will also receive cumulative bonuses that start at $15,000 and go as high as $100,000 for each round the Bulls advance in the NCAA Tournament. Oats' previous contract stated he would receive bonuses starting at $10,000 and topping at $75,000 for NCAA Tournament wins.
Oats and UB originally agreed to an extension in March of 2018. Oats' current contract ran through the 2021-2022 season, and paid him a base salary of $600,000 annually. NCAA Tournament bonuses in Oats' previous contract ranged from $10,000 to $75,000 for each round the Bulls advanced to.
Oats' buyout clause has also been restructured. If he leaves before the Bulls play in the 2019-2020 postseason, he owes UB $750,000. If Oats leaves before the end of the 2020-2021 season, the buyout drops to $500,000, and decreases by $100,000 the following season, and by $50,000 each year after, until the contract expires.
“Here’s what it does for me,” Oats said of the extension. “I can concentrate on coaching games. I don’t have to worry about the rest of things. I tell Rick, ‘ just tell everybody, no thanks, unless it’s something unreal.” Let’s just concentrate on this season, let’s concentrate on continuing to recruit for next year, we’ve got a really strong class, and let’s keep this thing building.”
In 2018, Oats was the fourth-highest paid employee in the State University of New York system based on state payroll data collected by See Through NY.
Buffalo (29-3), the top seed in the MAC men's basketball tournament, will play No. 5 Central Michigan in a MAC men’s semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Terms of Nate Oats' contract extension
Duration: March 14, 2019 – March 31, 2024
Annual base salary: $612,000
Additional compensation: $225,000
• Regular Season Win Total (non-cumulative)
• 20 wins $10,000 • 24 wins $15,000
• East Division Championship (sole/shared) $15,000 / $15,000 Asst. Salary Pool
• MAC Regular Season Championship (sole/shared) $75,000 / $30,000 Asst Salary Pool
• MAC Tournament Championship (sole/shared) $75,000 / $30,000 Asst Salary Pool
Post Season NCAA Tournament (cumulative)
• At-large bid $50,000 / $30,000 Asst Salary Pool
• Round of 32 appearance $15,000 / $15,000 Asst Salary Pool
• Round of 16 appearance $25,000 / $25,000 Asst Salary Pool
• Round of 8 appearance $40,000 / $25,000 Asst Salary Pool
• Final Four appearance $50,000 / $30,000 Asst Salary Pool
• National Championship game appearance $75,000 / $40,000 Asst Salary Pool
• National Champions $100,000 / $60,000 Asst Salary Pool
Post Season NIT Tournament bonuses (cumulative)
• At-large bid $5,000 / $2,500 Asst Salary Pool
• Second round appearance $5,000 / $2,500 Asst Salary Pool
• Quarterfinal appearance $5,000 / $2,500 Asst Salary Pool
• Semifinal appearance $10,000 / $5,000 Asst Salary Pool
• Championship game appearance $10,000 / $5,000 Asst Salary Pool
• NIT Champions $20,000 / $10,000 Asst Salary Pool
• MAC Coach of the Year $25,000
• Regional Coach of the Year $25,000
• National Coach of the Year $50,000
Annual APR rate (non-cumulative)
• 960 or above $5,000
• 970 or above $10,000
• 980 or above $15,000
• 990 or above $20,000
• Present through postseason play 2019-20 - $750,000
• One day after final regular/postseason game of 2019-20 through last game of 2020-21 season - $500,000
• One day after final regular/postseason game of 2020-21 through last game of 2021-22 season - $400,000
• One day after final regular/postseason game of 2021-22 through last game of 2022-23 season - $350,000
• One day after final regular/postseason game of 2022-23 through last game of 2023-24 season - $300,000
NCAA minimum Multi-Year Academic Progress Rate (APR) must be met in order to activate incentive compensation.
Contract terms provided by the University at Buffalo athletic department