Breaking: John Brannen trying to lure Antoine Pettway to Cincinnati

New Bearcats coach trying to hire away longtime Alabama assistant coach and former Crimson Tide player

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama men's basketball coach Nate Oats thought he had his new staff set in place.

It turns out that may not be the case.

Sources have told BamaCentral.com that John Brannen is trying to hire Antoine Pettway, and making it as difficult as possible for the former Crimson Tide player to say no. The offered incentives are thought to include both more money and better job title.

Pettway was given a raise from $210,000 to $275,000 in 2017, and was bumped up to $281,875.08 last year, with his contract running through the 2019-20 season.

Brannen, who was on the same coaching staff as Pettway under Anthony Grant, was named the head coach at Cincinnati on Sunday. He was 82-52 as the head coach at Northern Kentucky over the past four seasons.

Oats announced last Tuesday that he was retaining Pettway from the previous coaching staff.

Bryan Hodgson and Charlie Henry are the other two assistant coaches. Both had previously worked with Oats, but neither has any experience in Alabama or the Southeastern Conference,

“I think we have a great combination," Oats said in a release at the time. "Having someone who has been here, knows the area well and has done a great job recruiting at Alabama in Pettway was important.

“All of these guys are non-ego guys. I don’t want a guy who thinks he’s above the program. From the head coach all the way down to the last manager for there to be no ego people. Let’s dive in and see what we can do to serve this program. I think all five of these guys are just like that. I anticipate for all of us to get better as we come to Alabama and establish the kind of culture we established at Buffalo.”

Pettway has a strong reputation as a top-notch recruiter. In its most recent national recruiter rankings, 247sports.com listed Pettway as the No. 1 recruiter in the nation for the 2019 class. Prior to that, he was ranked No. 3 nationally in 2017 and No. 9 in 2018.

The former Crimson Tide player, who helped lead Alabama's NCAA run in 2004, has been in collegiate coaching for 14 years — most at UA.

“In getting to know Antoine over the past couple of weeks, he’s one of the best individuals I’ve ever met,” Oats said. “He’s got no ego, he’s not entitled and he’s got great relationships with our guys. I interviewed all the players when I first got here and the feedback I got on him was that he really cares about each of them. He recruited a lot of them and the fact that he helped sign the three guys coming in was big. I talked to a lot of people about him and it was all great. I thought it’d be good to have some continuity on staff and I am excited to work with Antoine.”

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