TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WHNT) — After a historic season for Alabama basketball, Nate Oats lost all three of his assistants to head coaching gigs; Oats has now hired his first new assistant.

Alabama announced the hiring of Austin Claunch as the newest men’s basketball assistant coach.

Claunch comes to Tuscaloosa after spending seven seasons at Nicholls State and the last five seasons as head coach. During his tenure, he compiled 90 wins, leading the Colonels to back-to-back Southland Regular Season titles and was named the 2021 Southland Conference Coach of the Year.

“Austin is one of the hardest-working guys in the business,” Oats said. “His work as a head coach at Nicholls was unbelievable with one of the lowest budgets in the country. He has won two out of the last three regular season championships in the Southland Conference and that is a credit to his hard work and his energy. Austin has a bright young mind and will help out our program in many ways. Not only is he a tireless recruiter and will help us with game planning but he is also a great person who will develop great relationships with our players and have a positive impact in our community.”

A rising star in the coaching ranks, Claunch was named to the ESPN 40 Under 40 in 2020 as he led Nicholls to unprecedented success in his five years at the helm.

Promoted to head coach in 2018, Claunch served as the youngest coach in Division I men’s basketball from 2018-21 and was the second youngest head coach in the country this previous season.

The Houston native accumulated a 90-61 overall record along with a 58-28 mark in Southland Conference play. Claunch led the Colonels from a ninth-place finish in his first year to being tied for second in the next season, claiming the Southland Conference Regular Season title in back-to-back seasons in 2020-21 and ’21-22.

“I am extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity to join Coach Oats’ staff,” said Claunch. “Over the past few seasons, Alabama has proven itself to be one of the premier basketball programs not only in the SEC, but also in the country. The max effort, continuous growth and selfless love established here is evident, even from afar, and I look forward to being a part of this team. I am eager to add value any way I can and learn from one of the brightest and most innovative minds in the game in Nate Oats. It’s a thrill to be joining the Tuscaloosa community, and I’m excited to see everyone soon. Roll Tide!”