Friday, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced that Alabama’s men's basketball coach Nate Oats was named to the late-season watch list for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year, a prestigious honor awarded to the most outstanding coach in college basketball.

The Naismith Award is named after Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, whose family presents the Naismith Awards annually to recognize the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. 

The Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year watch list was narrowed down to the top 15 coaches in the nation Friday, with Oats being one of two Southeastern Conference coaches awarded this honor, joined by Missouri head coach Dennis Gates.

This is the second time in the past three seasons that Oats has been named to the Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Watch List, with the other time being in 2021 when he finished in the top four. Among the 15 candidates, six, in addition to Nate Oats, have been on the list before.

So far this season, Oats has led the Crimson Tide to a 22-4 record with a 12-1 Southeastern Conference record in just his fourth season with Alabama. Over his four seasons with the Crimson Tide, he has accumulated an 83-40 record overall with a 45-22 record against SEC competitors.

For the first time in program history, Oats has Alabama ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and for the second time in program history, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press top 25 poll. Also, in what could be the Crimson Tide’s best season in program history, Oats has Alabama projected to be a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, which would also be a first in program history.

Candidates not included in the top 15 announced on Friday can still make it into the 10 semifinalists list that will be announced on March 9. The Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award will be narrowed down once again on March 20 to the final four finalists before the winner will be announced on April 2 at the Naismith Awards Brunch at the Final Four in Houston.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.