Just a quiet June Monday here, surely no reason for big college sports news to drop, right? No, of course no--
Thad Matta's tenure at Ohio State is over https://t.co/LBeOTadyUp— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) June 5, 2017
Oh. Thad Matta, a serial winner at Ohio State who made the NCAA Tournament 9 of 12 years that he was eligible to do so, is dunzo in Columbus. Matta made it to at least the Sweet 16 five times and was twice in the Final Four, including a national runner-up finish in 2006-07 (the Greg Oden-Mike Conley Jr. superteam). So why he's out now? Beyond an on-court slide (21-14 and an NIT appearance two years ago, 17-15 and no postseason this year), there were off-court issues in the form of recruiting misses and (legitimate) #MASSTRANSFERS, per Bill Landis at Cleveland.com:
It's because the realization that the program needed new leadership didn't hit Smith until recently.
Smith and Matta met shortly after the season, as Ohio State's athletic director does with all of his coaches, for a state of the program kind of meeting. Smith left pleased with the direction of the basketball team despite a 17-win season and a second straight year without an NCAA Tournament berth. The plan was for Matta to stay.
Then Ohio State lost three more players -- JaQuan Lyle quit the team, David Bell transferred and Trevor Thompson turned pro. That made seven player defections in two years. The Buckeyes also missed out on high-priority recruiting targets Mark Smith and M.J. Walker, and graduate transfers James Daniel and Cameron Johnson.
Ohio State was losing another off-season. So Smith and Matta both saw fit to make the change now.
As Iowa fans know all too well, when the transfer bug becomes an epidemic, it can be awfully hard to turn around the negative momentum. Recruiting misses coupled with #MASSTRANSFERS is not a recipe for a quick turnaround and a program like Ohio State has no patience for prolonged mediocrity. Meanwhile, Ohio State's list of targets to replace Matta is totally rational and full of legitimate possibil--lol no:
Insider says OSU wish list includes:— Clay Hall (@claywsyx6) June 5, 2017
Brad Stevens, Tony Bennett, Jay Wright, Sean Miller & Billy Donovan.
If they want to keep it in the ex-Butler coach family tree, Todd Lickliter is out there. Just saying.
Matta's departure means that Our Man Fran is now the fourth-longest tenured men's hoops coach in the Big Ten:
Crazy to think of the #B1G coaching turnover the last decade. Longest tenured coaches (yrs):— Matt Weitzel (@BigWeitz) June 5, 2017
Seven years? Where does the time go? Best of luck to Matta in whatever his next venture might be.