When speaking at a golf outing last week, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta addressed the transfer of four freshman following last season and said he wanted to take the basketball program back to the way it was when he first became the Buckeyes head coach.
“I’m going back to running this program the way we did when we got here,” Matta said in a video released July 14 on Twitter by This Week Community News.
Less than a week later Matta took a step toward making good on that promise, hiring Alan Major as the director of recruiting and player development. Major knows exactly how the Ohio State program was run when Matta came to Columbus as he accompanied the head coach as an assistant in 2004 and served in that capacity with the Buckeyes until 2010.
“(Matta) just wants us to be a team that plays with great humility, plays with great passion,” Major said when he spoke to the media Thursday. “You role up your sleeves every night not expecting or entitled to anything, but you go out and earn it. That’s who he is as a coach and I think he wants every team he has to reflect that personality.”
In his new role Major cannot interact with players on the court and cannot travel to recruit, however, he will be focused on building individual relationships with the players on the roster as well as coordinating staff-wide recruiting efforts.
The position is a new one on the Ohio State staff, but one Major believes Matta has wanted to create for some time. Because of the nature of the position a solid relationship between Matta and his new director of player development was crucial and Major fits the bill in that regard.
“Alan has many skills and talents above and beyond those he’s utilized as a coach over the years,” Matta said in a press release. “I want him to help us develop a complete and well-rounded student-athlete. Alan is the perfect fit for this position.”
Major joins Chris Jent as former Matta assistants to return to the staff this offseason, proof of the head coach’s desire to get the program back to where it was in the past.
Major was an assistant under Matta at Xavier from 2001-04 and followed him to Ohio State where Major stayed until 2010. He left the Buckeyes to become the head coach at Charlotte, but left in part due to health complications.
Major had two eye surgeries and a heart procedure in the summer of 2014 and said that in hindsight he should not have coached during the 2014-15 season. He left Charlotte after that season and has been away from the game for about 15 months, time that was valuable to get healthy and “deepen your perspective on why you do what you do.”
While he said he was not going to rush into anything, Major indicated the opportunity at Ohio State was too good to pass up.
“It felt right for me,” he said. “This is like reconnecting with an old girlfriend, one that you liked. It was a no brainier. It’s such a special place, it had a piece of my heart for six years.”