Matta To Stay At OSU? 'Absolutely'

Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta told reporters Friday that if it's up to him he will be back with the Buckeyes next year. Matta also noted that his current contract forbids him from publicly discussing coaching jobs at other schools, including the soon-to-be-vacant job at Indiana. Click this free link for more.

Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta had spent 10 minutes or so dutifully answering questions about Saturday's pivotal Big Ten game against Michigan (1:30 p.m., CBS regional broadcast) at Value City Arena.

But the topic eventually came around to Matta's desire – or lack thereof – to be considered for the soon-to-be-vacant head coaching job at Indiana.

When asked if he would return next year – when he is set to welcome a bumper crop of top signees, including the nation's No. 1 overall prospect in 7-0 Greg Oden – Matta replied, "I hope so. Honestly, I hope like heck I'm going to be here. Absolutely."

That is the closest Matta has come to saying he is not in the running for the IU job. Mike Davis stepped down from that post last week, but is finishing out the season with the Hoosiers.

Matta is in the second year of an eight-year contract that would pay him no less than $11 million if he stays through the 2011-2012 season. As part of that contract, he is precluded from even discussing his candidacy for other coaching positions.

"I don't have the liberty to talk about other jobs," he said. "I thought you guys would pick up on that."

But Matta, a native of Hoopeston, Ill., on the Indiana-Illinois border, has talked about his status at least in passing with OSU athletic director Gene Smith.

"All I can say is that Gene and I are on the same page," Matta said. "I love that about him, the communication and the openness. It's amazing how he came to me and we talked and we know exactly where both guys are."

Matta, who came to OSU from Xavier in July 2004, said he remained committed to building the OSU program. The Buckeyes are 20-4 overall and tied with Iowa for the Big Ten lead at 9-4 heading into Saturday's game against UM.

"I've said this before, I'm as happy as I've ever been, at Ohio State," Matta said. "Our goal coming in here was to build this program into a top-25 program and we're on the verge of doing that.

"We've put a lot of work into all phases of this program and to see it come together is very gratifying. We have reached a pinnacle this season, but I don't think any of our players or our staff are satisfied with where we are."

Matta was asked if he was surprised to have so much success so quickly at Ohio State, where he is now 40-16 in two years using players almost exclusively recruited to the school by his predecessor Jim O'Brien.

"We had a four-year plan and we thought it would maybe be three or four years before we would have things headed in the right direction," Matta said. "This is nothing but a tribute to our players and the job they've done.

"I think we're headed in the right direction. It goes to them. They are the ones doing the job and the ones that have put us in this position. I am also grateful to the fans and the excitement they have generated in the time we've been here."

He shared his thoughts as he took the job.

"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I think I was pleasantly surprised to go 20-12 last year and we are elated to be 20-4 this year. I didn't know what to expect this year. I didn't know the Big Ten would be as good as it is. I had no idea it would be the number one conference in the country."

With Wednesday's win at Michigan State, Matta joined Gonzaga's Mark Few as the only Division I-A coaches to log 20 or more wins in their first six seasons as head coaches.

"No, it's not me," Matta said, continuing the same theme. "I've always said the players I have coached deserve the credit. That is the hard part in leaving somewhere because you are leaving the guys who helped you to better yourself.

"I have been blessed to coach some tremendous players and some tremendous teams. Those are the guys who deserve the credit. Because of that, I have vowed to never forget those guys and what they have done."

Of course, OSU is awaiting word from the NCAA on penalties connected to alleged recruiting infractions during O'Brien's tenure. The nature of those penalties -- including the unlikely possibility of a second season of a postseason ban for Ohio State -- could ultimately factor in Matta's decision to pursue another job.


 

 



Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta had spent 10 minutes or so dutifully answering questions about Saturday's pivotal Big Ten game against Michigan (1:30 p.m., CBS regional broadcast) at Value City Arena.

But the topic eventually came around to Matta's desire – or lack thereof – to be considered for the soon-to-be-vacant head coaching job at Indiana.

When asked if he would return next year – when he is set to welcome a bumper crop of top signees, including the nation's No. 1 overall prospect in 7-0 Greg Oden – Matta replied, \"I hope so. Honestly, I hope like heck I'm going to be here. Absolutely.\"

That is the closest Matta has come to saying he is not in the running for the IU job. Mike Davis stepped down from that post last week, but is finishing out the season with the Hoosiers.

Matta is in the second year of an eight-year contract that would pay him no less than $11 million if he stays through the 2011-2012 season. As part of that contract, he is precluded from even discussing his candidacy for other coaching positions.

\"I don't have the liberty to talk about other jobs,\" he said. \"I thought you guys would pick up on that.\"

But Matta, a native of Hoopeston, Ill., on the Indiana-Illinois border, has talked about his status at least in passing with OSU athletic director Gene Smith.

\"All I can say is that Gene and I are on the same page,\" Matta said. \"I love that about him, the communication and the openness. It's amazing how he came to me and we talked and we know exactly where both guys are.\"

Matta, who came to OSU from Xavier in July 2004, said he remained committed to building the OSU program. The Buckeyes are 20-4 overall and tied with Iowa for the Big Ten lead at 9-4 heading into Saturday's game against UM.

\"I've said this before, I'm as happy as I've ever been, at Ohio State,\" Matta said. \"Our goal coming in here was to build this program into a top-25 program and we're on the verge of doing that.

\"We've put a lot of work into all phases of this program and to see it come together is very gratifying. We have reached a pinnacle this season, but I don't think any of our players or our staff are satisfied with where we are.\"

Matta was asked if he was surprised to have so much success so quickly at Ohio State, where he is now 40-16 in two years using players almost exclusively recruited to the school by his predecessor Jim O'Brien.

\"We had a four-year plan and we thought it would maybe be three or four years before we would have things headed in the right direction,\" Matta said. \"This is nothing but a tribute to our players and the job they've done.

\"I think we're headed in the right direction. It goes to them. They are the ones doing the job and the ones that have put us in this position. I am also grateful to the fans and the excitement they have generated in the time we've been here.\"

He shared his thoughts as he took the job.

\"I didn't know what to expect,\" he said. \"I think I was pleasantly surprised to go 20-12 last year and we are elated to be 20-4 this year. I didn't know what to expect this year. I didn't know the Big Ten would be as good as it is. I had no idea it would be the number one conference in the country.\"

With Wednesday's win at Michigan State, Matta joined Gonzaga's Mark Few as the only Division I-A coaches to log 20 or more wins in their first six seasons as head coaches.

\"No, it's not me,\" Matta said, continuing the same theme. \"I've always said the players I have coached deserve the credit. That is the hard part in leaving somewhere because you are leaving the guys who helped you to better yourself.

\"I have been blessed to coach some tremendous players and some tremendous teams. Those are the guys who deserve the credit. Because of that, I have vowed to never forget those guys and what they have done.\"

Of course, OSU is awaiting word from the NCAA on penalties connected to alleged recruiting infractions during O'Brien's tenure. The nature of those penalties -- including the unlikely possibility of a second season of a postseason ban for Ohio State -- could ultimately factor in Matta's decision to pursue another job.

 

 

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