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Ohio State Fires Men's Basketball Coach Thad Matta

Esther Honig
Ohio State Fires Mens' Basketball Coach Thad Matta

After two straight seasons of top recruits transferring and a lack of postseason success, Ohio State University on Monday fired men's basketball coach Thad Matta.

Matta and Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith announced the coaching change in a press conference.

After Ohio State missed the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, Smith and Matta met after the season to address the direction of the program. They put together a plan for next season. 

In March, Smith released a statement implying Matta's job was safe.

Those plans changed Friday during a follow-up meeting. Smith said the change was made because the program continued to struggle in recruiting during for first three months of the offseason.

"I felt confident after the season, once Thad and I sat down, we had a good plan going into the summer," Smith said. "Recruiting is a major part of that plan. We weren't winning the battles in recruiting that I thought we might have chance to win, as he did."

Smith will start an immediate nationwide search for Matta's successor. Matta will stay on to help with the search.

For more on Monday's announcement, WOSU's Steve Brown spoke with Columbus Dispatch columnist Rob Oller. Click the play button below to hear their conversation.


Matta recorded the most wins in program history with 337 wins over 13 seasons. He reached the Final Four twice while winning five Big Ten regular-season championship and four Big Ten tournament titles. 

Over the last 10 years, Matta's health has impacted coaching and recruiting. He has undergone four back surgeries. 

During the news conference, Matta revealed there was a year where he struggled to coach as his health deteriorated.  

"I went through a year where I couldn't walk," Matta said. "I couldn't take my shoes off after a game, I couldn't take my pants off after a game. I would have to curl up into a ball. That's why I was always late to the media stuff."

A return to coaching is not a priority for Matta right now. Instead he will focus on his health. 

"My whole focus right now is trying to get healthy. That's all I am concerned about."