Buffalo Head Coach Salary: How Much Does Nate Oats Make?

Getty Head coach Nate Oats of the Buffalo Bulls reacts from the sidelines during the second half of the first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley took just 2 years to take the Buffalo Bulls to the NCAA Tournament, winning the MAC in 2015 and playing a tight game with No. 5 seed West Virginia. He bolted for Arizona State the next season, leaving his former program in the hands of Nate Oats.

The challenge with a new coach in a burgeoning program is to build off the previous momentum. After Buffalo missed out on the tournament 2 years later with a 17-15 mark, Oats didn’t seem to have the program moving forward post-Hurley.

Last year, though, he didn’t just get back to the tournament. He took advantage of the opportunity, blasting the 4th-seeded Arizona Wildcats and future No. 1 NBA Draft pick Deandre Ayton. Fast forward to this weekend, and Oats’ Bulls ousted none other than Arizona State and their former head coach.


Buffalo vs. Arizona State: First round NCAA tournament extended highlightsWatch Buffalo move past Arizona State and advance to the Second Round in 10 minutes. Watch highlights, game recaps, and much more from the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on the official NCAA March Madness YouTube channel. Subscribe now to be updated on the latest videos: youtube.com/marchmadness?sub_confirmation=1 Connect with March Madness: Follow March…2019-03-22T22:58:08.000Z

Oats’ accomplishments make him a valuable commodity on the coaching carousel market, as big openings such as UCLA and Texas A&M are available. How much is he making now?

Tim Riordan of SB Nation’s Bull Run details Oats’ contract and annual salary. It starts with a $600,000 base salary, plus a $400 a month auto allowance. Incentive include a $50,000 bonus for winning the conference regular-season title, and another $50k for the tournament championship.

Oats did both, so that means at least $100,000 in bonuses so far in 2018-19. For the win over the Sun Devils, that’s another $10,000. If he beats Texas Tech Sunday (game currently underway), that spells $15k.

For winning the MAC Coach of the Year honors last year, he earned an extra $10,000. All together, Oats makes around $750k to $850k.

With the potential interest from bigger institutions, let’s talk buyout. Per Riordan:

If Oats is hired away
2018-2019 -> 1,000,000 dollars to the University
2019-2020 -> 500,000
2020-2021 -> 400,000
2021-2022 -> 350,000
2022-2023 -> 300,000

For what it’s worth, LA Times UCLA beat writer Ben Bolch pegged Oats as a potential replacement for the departed Steve Alford.

Nate Oats: One of the hottest young coaching names amid a meteoric rise at Buffalo, his biggest shortcoming may be having just started what looks like a promising career.

UCLA paid Steve Alford a 7-year, $18.2 million contract according to SB Nation. That same contract would be about a $1.5 million upgrade for what Oats currently makes, not including incentives.


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