Buffalo assistant Nate Oats hired as head coach

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Buffalo has promoted assistant Nate Oates to head coach, the school announced.

Oates has been with Buffalo for the past two seasons and was named interim head coach after Bobby Hurley departed for Arizona State on Thursday.

“I want to thank President Tripathi, Danny White and our entire administration for giving me this opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program,” Oats said in a statement.  “I also want to thank Coach Hurley for giving me this opportunity two years ago and the players for helping me get to this current position. I have witnessed the potential of not only our team, but the entire athletic department over the last two years and I can’t wait to continue to coach these young men.

“We are starting to establish a great tradition of success here and I am extremely excited about getting to work with the coaching staff and players in order to focus on carrying that tradition forward into the future.”

The Bulls were 42-20 (25-11 MAC) in Hurley’s two seasons, reaching the NCAA tournament this past season. The coaching hire at Buffalo was an important one, given that the team returns the bulk of its core from last season, including MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss and second-leading scorer Shannon Evans, as well as Jarryn Skeete and Lamonte Bearden.

Hurley was hired to replace Herb Sendek at ASU.

Prior to joining Hurley’s coaching staff in 2013, Oates was the head coach at Romulus High School (Michigan) for 11 years.