BUFFALO, NY – University at Buffalo head men's basketball coach Nate Oats has been named as one of 11 semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Monday afternoon.
Seven coaches are seeking their first such honor, including Rick Barnes (Tennessee), Chris Beard (Texas Tech), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Nate Oats (Buffalo), Matt Painter (Purdue), Kelvin Sampson (Houston) and Mike Young (Wofford). The other four candidates are former Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award winners.
"With the regular season complete, the competition for Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy Coach of the Year will pick up as tournament play begins," said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "We're looking forward to watching these candidates lead and push their teams to excel through post season."
Oats has led Buffalo to its best season in school history as UB is set to begin Mid-American Conference Tournament play on Thursday. Buffalo has already set a program record for wins in a season with 28 and they set a record for MAC wins with 16. On Monday, the Bulls earned their 18th straight week in the national rankings as they are 18th in the latest AP Poll and 16th in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll.
The four finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men's College Coach of the Year will be announced on March 20. Fans will be able to support their favorite coach by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 22-April 3, to cast their ballot, and the fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Then, on April 7, 2019, the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men's College Coach of the Year will be awarded at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Mortenson, during the Final Four in Minneapolis.
"The Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalists have each excelled in coaching their teams throughout the regular season," said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. "We look forward to watching these coaches inspire their teams and wish them luck as they approach the tournament."