Mark Alnutt faces his first major lease as the University's athletic director of Buffalo.
Nate Oats became Alabama basketball player on Wednesday, and the removal of Oats creates a hole in the offensive program – a hole that needs to be clever and swift.
Alnutt came from Memphis, and walked into a good UB situation in March 2018. Male and female basketball teams made NCAA Tournament appearances, and the football team was on the verge of a record-setting season.
Now, Alnutt's decision is facing: He has to make a rent likely to determine his term in UB as an athletic director. The next coach must win, and the men's basketball program must keep the pedestal of becoming a successful athletic UB team.
UB can not afford to take a coach who can drive a land program, and resolve what Oats and Bobby Hurley have built over six seasons.
What can weaken Alnutt's work is the fact that he may lose another coach from a UB marquee team in a Power Five school, and face the possibility of being able to fill two high profile positions .
Women's basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack recently completed his seventh season at UB, and can back-to-back NCAA Tournament out of a coaching job in a Power Five program. Among the more eye-catching openings across the country are the Penn State of the Big Ten, Georgia Tech of ACC and Tennessee of the SEC.
But when it comes to focusing on the men's program, how much does Alnutt want to seek? Does he want someone with head-coaching experience Division Division I? Or does he want a coach from another mid-major program to continue to cultivate the Bulls as one of the country's best mid-major programs and a long-term power of the Mid-American Conference?
Or can Alnutt shift the gears, and instead continue with some of the best recruiters in Power Five programs?
Many potential candidates from different coaching backgrounds can be coach of UB's next men's basketball coach.
The goal of UB is the purpose of an assistant coach who has proven to be a strong recruiter and who is a master-college basketball expert, which is a trend towards MAC head coaches. Among the possible candidates:
- Dane Fife, Michigan State: Fife played for Bobby Knight in Indiana and Tom Izzo's main assistant to the Spartans. He was also praised for being a high-level recruiter, and became head coach for six seasons in Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne. But the question is whether he will remove the camp of Izzo. Caputo was a high-level recruiter, and a veteran assistant coach who worked on highly respected Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga for the 1
- Chris Caputo, Miami (Fla.): Mason, where he helped Larryaga coach the Patriots in the Final Four in 2006.
- Carlin Hartman, Oklahoma: Hartman was a helper under Lon Kruger, and a native Grand Island who was an experienced assistant, a strong recruiter and as a coach, is focused on building players inside and large men.
- Rob Lanier, Tennessee: Ibaer, a former St. Bonaventure and a native Buffalo, were cut from Siena in 2005 but built his coaching resume as an assistant in Virginia and Florida, and with Rick Barnes's staff in Texas, and Tennessee in the last eight seasons. He is a cousin of former Bona standout Bob Lanier.
Ohio recently accepted Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals, who could start a trend of programs bringing coaches to be successful at lower-level conferences or Division II ranks. Among the possible candidates:
- John Becker, Vermont: Becker leads the Catamounts in three NCAA Tournaments, three American East tournament championships and two NIT berths since he took the program in 2011. He also has average 24 wins
- Patrick Beilein, LeMoyne: Beilein grew up in Buffalo and the son of former Canisius and current Michigan coach John Beilein. He recently completed his fourth season in Division II LeMoyne, where he led the Dolphins to three NCAA Division II Tournaments.
Or the Bulls can keep home rent, as did former UB athletic director Danny White promoting Oats, then a maid, to replace Hurley in April of 2015. The top two internal candidate:
- Jim Whitesell, UB assistant: Whitesell was an Oats assistant for four seasons, and currently UB's temporary coach. He is regarded as a good strategist with former experience as head coach at levels I, II and III from 1987 to 2011, including seven seasons in Loyola-Chicago.
- Bryan Hodgson, UB assistant: Hodgson is UB's secret weapon when it comes to recruiting, because he brought some of the current program players, including Dontay Caruthers and Jeremy Harris. He also has a strong connection with the junior-college ranks but has no head coach experience.
Nate Oats resigned as UB men's basketball coach, head of Alabama