Thad Matta: Ohio State and coach splitting up after 13 seasons

By Alex Butler  |  June 5, 2017 at 5:19 PM
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June 5 (UPI) -- Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta and the school announced a parting of ways on Monday following his 13-year tenure with the Buckeyes.

The coach has dealt with several health issues since his 2007 back surgery, according to Cleveland.com.

"I went through a year where I couldn't walk," Matta told Eleven Warriors. "I couldn't take my shoes off after a game, my pants off after a game."

Matt is focussing on staying healthy, but didn't rule out a return to coaching.

The 49-year-old joined the Buckeyes in 2004, after three years coaching at Xavier. He was Butler's head coach in 2000. His Buckeyes posted a 337-123 record and went to the NCAA tournament nine times. The Buckeyes made it to the Final 4 in 2012 and 2007 and the Elite 8 in 2013. Ohio State lost to Florida in the 2007 National Championship.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said at Monday's press conference that the two had a "mutual understanding that it was time for a leadership change" with the basketball program.

Matta recited lyrics from The Grateful Dead.

"If you wanted an exact thought of where my emotions are, there's a great song that says, 'Sometimes the light shines brightly on me, other times I can barely see. Lately it's occurred to me what a long, strange trip it's been,'" Matta said.

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

Matta's Buckeyes won five Big Ten regular-season titles and four Big Ten tournament championships. He is the winningest coach in school history.

"I felt comfortable after the season when I sat down with Thad that we had a plan. Recruiting is a major part of it, and we weren't winning the recruiting battles," Smith said. "As we started talking about it Friday, the flow of the conversation took me to the realization as I said to him, 'This might be the time to make a leadership change,' and he agreed."

Matta was also an assistant coach at Indiana State, Butler, Miami University and Western Carolina.

A national search for the Buckeyes' next coach will begin immediately, according to a release from the school.

Matta owns a career 439-154 record as a head coach.

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