Reports: It's ... Matta!!

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Xavier confirmed that Thad Matta had accepted the men's basketball coaching position at Ohio State. A short time later, an Ohio State spokesman confirmed the Matta hire, although a formal release is not expected until Thursday. Click here for more.

Various news outlets are reporting that Ohio State offered its head men's basketball coaching position to Xavier's Thad Matta, who accepted late this afternoon.

Columbus' WTVN-AM may have broken the story at around 4:45 p.m. this afternoon.

At 7:30 p.m., Xavier confirmed the move as athletic director Dawn Rogers announced that Matta had left the Cincinnati school to take the Ohio State job.

Shortly thereafter, an OSU spokesman confirmed the Matta hiring. However, the university is not expected to formally announce the hiring via a news release until sometime Thursday and Matta was not expected to address the Columbus media until sometime Friday due to other commitments.

The 36-year-old Matta is one of the hottest names in college coaching after leading Xavier to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament this past month. He follows Jim O'Brien, who was fired June 8 for admitting he paid a former recruit from Serbia nearly $7,000 in humanitarian aid.

Matta's hiring came out of left field in some respects. OSU athletic director Andy Geiger had spent time talking to, among others, Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings, Rice's Willis Wilson, Penn's Fran Dunphy, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons (a former OSU player) and OSU interim head coach Rick Boyages over the last several days.

Yesterday, Geiger was seen interviewing Stallings and Wilson on campus.

It was just eight days ago when Matta told The Cincinnati Enquirer, "I'm not a candidate (for the OSU job). It's that plain and that simple."

However, sources told Bucknuts.com they believe Matta was a candidate for the job the entire time and was just doing the best he could publicly to keep himself at a safe distance.

Things heated up last night when WTVN-AM reported that Matta was due in Columbus today for an interview. He did not confirm that in a telephone interview with The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer last night. It was reported in Cincinnati today, though, that Matta informed Xavier athletic director Dawn Rogers late last night of his plans to interview today at OSU.

But shortly after 7 a.m. this morning, Matta was spotted with Geiger outside the Schottenstein Center. The two met with Geiger's search committee until nearly 10 a.m. Matta then went to the official university residence of President Karen Holbrook late in the morning. He spent an hour visiting with the president before boarding a plane for Indianapolis, where he was to attend National Association of Basketball Coaches meetings.

Meanwhile, Geiger and his committee discussed their options and settled on Matta. Holbrook concurred and Geiger offered Matta the job. According to reports, he immediately accepted.

But again, as of 7 p.m. Eastern, there had been no formal announcement from Ohio State.

There are no indications as well as to how Matta will build his staff. It is rumored that Xavier may consider top assistant Sean Miller, a former star at Pittsburgh, to replace Matta. It is unclear whether any of the OSU assistants -- Boyages, LaMonta Stone or Monte Mathis -- would be retained by Matta.

Matta is reportedly under contract at Xavier through 2013. One report noted that OSU may have to pay a sizable buyout just to hire Matta. No details of his first OSU contract were available.

He is 102-31 (.767) in four years as a head coach. That includes one year at Butler and three at XU. He is one of six coaches in NCAA history to reach 100 wins in his first four years as a head coach. The Musketeers went 26-11 this past year and reached the Elite Eight. His teams are 2-1 against Cincinnati.

Matta is from Hoopeston, Ill., and played college ball at Butler. He was an assistant at Indiana State, Western Carolina, Miami (Ohio) and Butler before becoming the head coach at Butler, where he was 24-8 in one season.

In four years as a college head coach, Matta's teams have won three regular season conference titles and three conference tournament titles (one Midwestern Collegiate and two Atlantic 10). And, this past year XU was denied the A-10 title by St. Joseph's unbeaten team -- and the Musketeers still came back and won the conference tourney title over host Dayton.


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