COLUMBUS, OH – The Big Ten will be without one of its long-tenured coaches for the upcoming season.
In a surprise move, Ohio State has decided to part ways with head coach Thad Matta after 13 seasons. The Hoopeston, Illinois native won five Big Ten Championships with Buckeyes and made Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2012. With stars Mike Conley and Greg Oden, the 2007 team reached the National Championship game before losing to Florida at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Athletic director Gene Smith and Matta held a joint news conference in Columbus to discuss the move which was not classified as a retirement despite recent health problems for the coach. Matta said he’s had multiple back surgeries since he was 15 years old which hurt his ability to keep up with the rigors of coaching.
Smith said that Matta will help the school in the selection of his replacement.
Matta leaves Ohio State as the all-time coaching leader in wins (337) and games coached (460) but things soured a bit in his final two seasons. The Buckeyes failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in his last two seasons, finishing 17-15 with a 7-11 Big Ten record.
The Hoopeston native played college basketball at Southern Illinois and Butler before starting a long career in coaching as an assistant at Indiana State in 1990. Matta got his first head coaching job was at Butler in 2000 where he stayed one year before going to Xavier from 2001-2004. He took the Ohio State job after head coach Jim O’Brien was fired in the summer of 2004.