'A long, strange trip': Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach

by Steven Clarke June 6, 2017, 5:44
'A long, strange trip': Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach

Smith said Ohio State will honor the three remaining years on Matta's contract.

Thad Matta has been fired by Ohio State, he and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith announced at a Monday news conference.

Matta, who has coached the team for 13 seasons, also cited his health at a news conference Monday.

A national search for the Buckeyes' next coach will begin immediately, according to a release from the school. OSU made another trip to the Final Four five years later when it fell to Kansas, 64-62. After the Buckeyes missed the NCAA Tournament for the 2nd straight season, Smith gave Matta what appeared to be a vote of confidence heading into the offseason.

The tearful coach called the experience the "greatest 13 years" of his life.

"I just got this feeling listening to him that it was time", Smith said. Prior to his arrival at IN he made three straight NCAA tournaments at Marquette, then took over an NCAA sanction ravaged program and returned them into a two-time Big Ten champ. "Recruiting is a major part of it, and we weren't winning the recruiting battles", Smith said.

Matta said during the press conference he hasn't ruled out coaching again, but that he wants to get healthy. As for coaching again, he said: "Never say never".

Matta, according to the report, has dealt with health issues after undergoing back surgery more than a decade ago. However, the Buckeyes have dropped off from there, making the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015 before missing the tournament the last two years. The Buckeyes limped to the end of this season, and then star guard JaQuan Lyle left the team without public explanation. "And that to me is something I'm going to hang my hat on, that this program was run the right way".

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.


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