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

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

Matta previously underwent back surgery that left him without a fully-functioning right foot and back complications.

Won 30 or more games 3 times as Ohio State head coach.

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However, Ohio State has gone two seasons without making the NCAA Tournament and finished last season at 17-15. While Matta and AD Gene Smith called the decision mutual, Smith specifically cited Matta's recent struggles in recruiting as the main driver behind the move. "I couldn't take my shoes off after a game, I couldn't take my trousers off after a game". "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 said his chronic pain wore on him through the years and his focus now is on getting healthy. Coupled with Matta's well-known health issues, that was enough for the Buckeyes to decide hiring a new coach in June made sense. The 49-year-old Matta also took OSU to the Final Four in 2007 and 2012, falling in the championship game to Florida in '07. His Buckeyes posted a 337-123 record and went to the NCAA tournament nine times.

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Smith said the Buckeyes will conduct a national search for their next coach. Does Ohio State want a coach who was just fired from a Big Ten rival? He won five regular-season Big Ten titles and four league tournaments, the most championships of any league coach during the last 13 seasons. Smith is looking for a big-time recruiter as the next pitch man at Ohio State.

"Sometimes the lights all shining on me", Matta said.

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Matta's other head coaching positions were at Xavier and Butler, and he was an assistant at Miami and Western Carolina. "We were battling some things we couldn't overcome". And that to me is something that I want to hold or hang my hat on.



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