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Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats has his team leading the Southeastern Conference standings, and the school has rewarded him with a contract extension and a raise, even though the season isn't finished.

The school announced in a news release Thursday afternoon that Oats' contract has been extended by three years and will run through March 14, 2027. His base salary and talent fee will increase to $3.225 million annually.

According to the release, appropriate members of The Board of Trustees have been notified of the proposed terms and conditions of the contract extension, the financial terms remain subject to the approval by the board.

“We are excited to agree to a contract extension with The University of Alabama,” Oats said. “Crystal and our daughters love it here, and we are committed to The University of Alabama. We feel like we have a lot of positive momentum going with our team and have the program headed in the right direction.

"Our administration is making a major statement with this extension as we all work on building a successful program for the long term. I know the winning history we’ve had with Alabama basketball, and I feel like we can add to that and accomplish great things here. We appreciate the opportunity Greg Byrne and our athletics administration, President Stuart Bell, Chancellor St. John and The Board of Trustees have provided us.

"This is really a reflection of the outstanding job that our players, coaches and basketball staff have done the last two years. Now we need all of our focus to be on finishing this season the right way and giving our team the best chance to succeed down the stretch.”

Alabama is 17-5, including 12-1 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 8, which is the highest Alabama has been ranked since 2007. It also is the Tide's highest ranking this late in the year since 2002.

Alabama needs only two more wins to clinch the program's first SEC regular-season title in 19 years.

He is 33-20 in two years at Alabama, including 20-11 against SEC teams.

Oats came to Alabama from Buffalo where he coached during 2015-19.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce a contract extension with our head men’s basketball coach Nate Oats,” Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said. “We had great expectations when we hired Coach Oats. He has exceeded those expectations, and we want to ensure he is compensated among the top half of the SEC. We have put buyout measures in place that show the long-term commitment between both parties.

"Coach Oats and his staff have built a comprehensive program that has maximized our student-athlete’s experience, significantly increased interest in Alabama Basketball with future recruits and put forward a product that has excited our fan base. Nate, Crystal and the Oats family have embraced our community and state and, in turn, our fans have embraced them.”

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Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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