Alabama adds former NBA assistant to coaching staff
By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown
After the conclusion of last season, Alabama basketball head coach Nate Oats had to replace all three of his full-time assistant coaches after Charlie Henry (Georgia Southern), Bryan Hodgson (Arkansas State), and Antoine Pettway (Kennesaw State) got head coaching jobs.
Oats’ new coaching staff is nearly complete. On Wednesday, the basketball program officially announced the hiring of assistant coach Ryan Pannone. He spent last season as an assistant coach for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
“Over my last four years at Alabama, I have gotten to know Ryan through his work with the Pelicans organization,” Oats said in a statement. “He is one of the brightest minds in the game of basketball and a relentless worker. Ryan brings a wealth of Xs and Os experience to Tuscaloosa from his time coaching in the NBA, G League, and overseas. He is recognized as a top recruiter and a leader in player development, both crucial to the long and short-term success of our program. We are excited Ryan is on board working with our student athletes. Not only is he a fantastic coach, but he is an even better person and a proven mentor of young men. I am sure Ryan and his family will become a valued part of the Tuscaloosa community.”
Pannone is the second assistant Oats has hired this off season. He previously hired Austin Claunch, who was the head coach at Nicholls State before coming to Alabama.
Prior to serving as an assistant coach with the Pelicans, Pannone spent three seasons as the head coach of the Pelicans’ G-League affiliate. Originally the Erie (Mich.) BayHawks, the franchise relocated to Birmingham in 2020. Former Alabama stars, Kira Lewis Jr. and John Petty Jr. played for the Birmingham Squadron under Pannone.
The 38-year-old Pannone landed his first coaching job at Oldsmar Christian School (Fla.) in 2006. He compiled a 131-42 during his five seasons as head coach before landing his first college coaching gig, as an assistant at Wallace State-Hanceville Community College.
Pannone also spent time coaching overseas with international professional teams. During his time with Hapoel Jerusalem, Pannone’s team won the Israeli State Cup and became the 2017 Israeli League champion. He was also the head coach of the British Columbia Prievidza in the Slovak Basketball League for the 2017-18 season.
Pannone says he is “honored” to be apart of Oats’s staff.
“The chance to join a legendary school with a basketball program that is among the best in the country is a privilege,” Pannone said. “Coach Oats leads a team that competes with NBA-style ball and runs NBA sets, so to have the opportunity to leverage my NBA experience to mentor and raise up student athletes was a rare and rewarding offer I couldn’t pass up.”