Ryan Pannone, Austin Claunch accept offers to join Alabama basketball coaching staff
Alabama basketball's coaching staff for 2023-24 is starting to come together.
Ryan Pannone, a New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach, has accepted an offer to join Nate Oats' staff as an assistant, a source with direct knowledge confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News. So, too, has Nicholls coach Austin Claunch.
That leaves one more assistant coach to hire.
The Crimson Tide needed to replace all three assistants after each left for head coaching jobs elsewhere. Charlie Henry went to Georgia Southern, Bryan Hodgson left for Arkansas State, and Antoine Pettway joined Kennesaw State.
Pannone has been an assistant for the New Orleans Pelicans since July 2022. Before then, he was the head coach of the Erie Bayhawks/Birmingham Squadron, the NBA G League affiliate of the Pelicans, from 2019-2022.
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Pannone has coached all over the world and at different levels. He spent time as an assistant at Wallace State Community College from 2011-12 in Hanceville, Alabama. He has since made stops coaching in China, Germany, Israel, Slovakia and Israel again before joining the Erie BayHawks in 2019.
Pannone is a Clearwater, Florida, native who attended South Florida.
Claunch has been the head coach of Nicholls since March 29, 2018, and he has been on the staff at Nicholls since June 2016. When he was an assistant, Claunch worked with the guards. He will likely fill the role of Pettway on the staff.
Over his time at Nicholls, Claunch put together a 90-61 record over five seasons with only one losing season.
Prior to joining the Colonels, Claunch served as Clemson's assistant video services director. Before that, he worked as a graduate manager for Clemson from 2013-15. He got his start in the profession when he worked as an assistant coach at George Mason from 2012-13.
Claunch is a Houston native who attended Emory University and played basketball for the Division III school from 2008-12. He started for four years and was a captain for two.
The two assistants join a program that is fresh off its first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Crimson Tide also won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament along the way. Alabama reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in the past three seasons under Oats. The Crimson Tide's season ended with a loss to San Diego State, which went on to lose in the national championship game.