Indiana basketball is one of the most historic programs in all of college hoops. After 20 years of largely underwhelming results, however, it may not be easy to fill the job with a top name.
The Hoosiers fired Archie Miller, one of the top coaching prospects in the sport just a few years ago, at the end of the team’s season. Miller finished his tenure at Dayton with four straight NCAA Tournament trip including a surprise Elite Eight run in 2014, winning over 68-percent of his games. At Indiana, he was 67-58 in four years, failing to reach the NCAA Tournament, and in 2020-21, the Hoosiers went 12-15 (7-12).
Brad Stevens, a native son of the Hoosier state who has been connected to potential IU openings since he was at Butler, recently shot down speculation that he’d leave the NBA to return to college ball. He has been head coach of the Boston Celtics since 2013.
Now, it looks like IU has been publicly turned down by another hot name in the coaching world: Alabama‘s Nate Oats. The former Buffalo coach has the Crimson Tide rolling in just his second year. The team is currently a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC regular season and tournament.
What Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats said about Indiana job and 'media speculation' https://t.co/uIv2XOqKZB
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“No interest in any job other than the one I currently have,” Oats told The Tuscaloosa News, amid rumors about Indiana basketball. “We have something special here, love it here, and just signed an extension for this very reason so we didn’t have to address these situations while we’re trying to win games.”
He later appeared on WJOX’s The RoundTable show to further shoot things down. From 247Sports:
“It’s nice they bring your name up. That’s what happens when you win. That’s kind of inevitable… I’m from the Midwest, there’s Midwest jobs that are opening. It’s gonna happen. But the reality is I’m not interested in them.
“If I was interested in some of these jobs, I wouldn’t have been aggressive as we were in signing the extension. Greg Byrne was great to me. I love working with him. We love being at Alabama. When he sat down and offered me the extension and a raise, he said, ‘There’s give and take.’ And he’s right. They’ve put their foot forward for me, and I’m gonna do the same. They bumped the buyout up, which is fine. Like I said earlier, I don’t really care what the buyout is, I’m not going anywhere.”
It doesn’t hurt that he just recently signed a huge contract extension with the school, a six-year deal worth $19.4 million, with a buyout that currently sits at $12.6 million. Even with that aside, it sounds like Alabama is dedicated to being a winner, and Oats is very happy building that program, rather than being the savior at a place like Indiana.