After 13 seasons, Thad Matta will no longer be coaching the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Matta and OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith announced the decision at a joint press conference today.
It’s not clear whether the decision is a firing, or a retirement, or more likely a little bit of both. Coach Matta has had some significant health issues, and those health issues may have affected his coaching. After having an enormous amount of success for most of his Ohio State career, the Buckeyes had fallen on hard times lately, and this past season was his worst one yet. Recruiting, which once was Matta’s forte, also has been a struggle of late, and it may be another aspect of the coaching job that may have been affected by Matta’s physical condition.
Many Ohio State fans have been calling for Matta’s head. I wasn’t one of them. I think he was a total class act who turned around the Buckeye basketball program and brought in some great players; by virtue of the great results he achieved for most of his Ohio State career, I thought he deserved a chance to rebuild the program if he was so inclined. In my view, Matta’s farewell remarks at the press conference today, shown below, demonstrate exactly why he was such a good coach at OSU, and why he remains a terrific human being.
Some times you need to be careful what you wish for. I hope the Ohio State fans who urged that Matta be discharged because they thought it will be easy to get another top coach to come to Columbus don’t end up ruing the day that they got their wish. In the meantime, I wish Coach Matta good health and good fortune, for a good guy.