March 27 (UPI) -- The University of Alabama hired Buffalo's Nate Oats as the team's next men's head basketball coach, the school announced Wednesday.
The 44-year-old Oats replaced former head coach Avery Johnson, who parted ways with the Crimson Tide earlier this week after four seasons at the helm.
"We are thrilled to welcome Nate and Crystal Oats and their three daughters to The University of Alabama," Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement. "I have been watching Coach Oats for the last few years as he has led the University at Buffalo to unprecedented heights. His commitment to developing the student-athlete both on and off the court was what really stuck out.
"As we spoke to some of the best college and pro basketball minds in the country, his name came up time and time again. Coach Oats will hit the ground running, and we look forward to him having a long and successful career with the Alabama Crimson Tide."
Oats led the Bulls to the second round of the NCAA tournament in the last two years, with victories over Arizona in 2017 and Arizona State this season. Buffalo lost in the second round against No. 3 seed Texas Tech last weekend.
In four seasons under Oats, Buffalo has went to three NCAA tournaments and posted a 96-43 overall record. Oats was named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year the last two seasons.
Buffalo originally signed Oats to a contract extension two weeks ago that would have kept the coach with the school until 2024. The extension raised his buyout to $750,000.
Assistant coach Jim Whitesell will serve as the team's interim coach while Buffalo conducts its head-coaching search.