OFFICIAL: Claunch named Assistant Basketball Coach at Alabama

No secret here – this one has been out for a while. Alabama has finally released an official statement announcing the hiring of former Nicholls State head coach Austin Claunch as an assistant. (*in case you missed it, the Nicholls State finalists are HERE).

Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats announced Tuesday 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. Claunch led Nicholls to its first win over a Power 5 team (Nov. 9, 2019 at Pitt) and guided the Colonels to a 21-win season in 2019-20 after being picked to finish 11th in the Southland Preseason Poll. 

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.

In only his third season, Claunch coached Nicholls to an outright SLC title after going 14-2 in league play and 18-7 overall. Claunch’s squad reeled off two eight-game winning streaks in the championship campaign, capped with a win in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament. In addition to having three All-Southland honorees, highlighted by first-team selection and newcomer of the year Ty Gordon, Claunch received Southland Coach of the Year. 

“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!”

Austin Claunch Bio

  • 2020-21 Southland Conference Coach of the Year
  • Back-to-back Southland Regular Season Champions (2020-21 and 2021-22)
  • Served as the youngest head coach in Division I Men’s basketball for three seasons (2018-21)
  • The second youngest head coach during the 2022-23 season
  • Named to ESPN 40 Under 40 in 2020
  • Coaching Experience:
    • 2018-23: Nicholls State (Head Coach)
    • 2016-18: Nicholls State (Assistant Coach)
    • 2015-16: Clemson (Assistant Coach)
    • 2013-15: Clemson (Graduate Manager)
    • 2012-13: George Mason (Assistant Coach)
  • Education:
    • Clemson University (Master of Human Resource – 2015)
    • Emory University (Bachelor of Science, Political Science – 2012)  
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