Dienhart: Thad Matta, Ohio State split isn't a shock

Erica Murray
June 6, 2017

Ohio State finished 21-14 this year.

"This has been the greatest 13 years of my life", Matta said through tears at a press conference on Monday.

Ohio State and basketball coach Thad Matta have parted ways after 13 years, athletic director Gene Smith announced at a press conference Monday. This is the kind of gig that has enough power to sway well-respected coaches away from their current jobs, and with plenty of time between now and the start of the 2017-18 season, you better believe the Ohio State brass will do whatever it takes to land their guy.

After a botched surgery left him with back problems and a less than fully functioning right foot, Matta has walked with a limp on the sidelines, wears a supportive brace on his lower right leg and sits on a barstool instead of the regular bench seat at games for more back support.

When asked if he could get back into coaching, Matta said he was working first and foremost on getting healthy, but did add, "never say never". The Buckeyes were the best program in the Big Ten early in Matta's tenure, highlighted by the freshmen group of Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook that led the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament championship game in 2007. The Hoopeston, Illinois native won five Big Ten Championships with Buckeyes and made Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2012.

"It was time", Smith said. Here are nine reasons why Mack should resist the Buckeyes job and stay exactly where he is, should Ohio State come calling.

He was paid a $625,000 bonus April 30 - less than two months after Smith offered Matta his public support - for still being employed. Ohio State has missed the last two NCAA tournaments and, in 2014 and 2015, failed to make it out of the first weekend.

Leaving the Buckeyes, Matta said he hopes that people remember him not for the coach and for the accomplishments he led OSU to, but instead he hopes to be remembered for the person he was and for coaching "the right way". The Buckeyes had their top recruit in the Class of 2018 decommit from the program in April.

"The last thing I hope I'm remembered for is that we always did it the right way", Matta said.

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.

Other reports by Insurance News

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