The Ole Miss Spirit’s Ben Garrett is reporting that former Ohio State Buckeye’s coach Thad Matta has been spotted in Oxford on Friday. No one is sure what exactly he is doing in town, but he has been spotted.
A day later, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman also confirmed that Matta was in fact in Oxford and met with Ole Miss officials about the opening.
Thad Matta considering a return to coaching, met with Ole Miss officials in Oxford on Friday, sources told ESPN: https://t.co/AKiTPbTsKN— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 3, 2018
According to Goodman’s source who is close to the former Buckeyes’ coach, he currently is in much better shape physically and is rejuvenated after dealing with back and foot issues.
In case you have been gravely ill, in a coma, or were just born, you are well aware that Ole Miss’ long-time head coach Andy Kennedy stepped down earlier this season after 12 years, 245 wins, one SEC tournament title, and three NCAA tournament appearances. The Rebels season has fallen into disrepair of late. And that’s putting it lightly.
Ole Miss takes on Vanderbilt this weekend at The Pavilion in the season finale. The Rebs are currently 12-18 and 5-12 in the Southeastern Conference and the Commodores are 11-19 and also 5-12 in conference, virtually making this a battle for last place.
Now that Matta has been seen in Oxford, one can assume that he is certainly talking with athletics director Ross Bjork about the vacancy left by Kennedy and that things could very well move rather quickly since Matta is no longer coaching at Ohio State. In June of last year, Matta mutually agreed with Ohio State to step down as their head coach due to his long time health issues that were not only affecting on-court results, but recruiting as well.
That final season in Columbus is the ONLY time that Thad failed to get to 20 wins in his career at tOSU.
So who is Thad Matta? What would he bring to Ole Miss as a head coach? Where has he been before this?
Before making it to Columbus to coach the Buckeyes, he was the head man at Butler during the 2000-2001 season for one year where he finished 24-8, 11-3 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, and won the regular season and conference tournament championship. They closed out that season by making it to the NCAA round of 32.
After leaving Butler, Matta coached at Xavier for three seasons. There, his teams went a combined 78-23 overall and 39-9 in the Atlantic 10. He won two regular season titles and two tournament titles as the Muskateers’ head coach and made the Elite Eight his last year on the sidelines.
Then he arrived at Ohio State where he won 337(!) games in 13 years. This resume is quite insane. Hold on.
- Four Big Ten Tournament championships (2007, 2010, 2011, 2013)
- Five Big Ten regular season championships (2006, 2007, 2010–2012)
- NIT championship (2008)
- Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2006, 2007, 2010)
- Nine trips to the NCAA Tournament
- NCAA Runner-Up (2007)
- Two Final Fours (2007, 2012)
- NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2013)
- Two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2010, 2011)
Oh, and did I mention he had a pretty decent coaching tree?
- Sean Miller - University of Arizona
- John Groce - University of Akron
- Alan Major - University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- Archie Miller - Indiana University
- Brad Stevens - Boston Celtics
- Brandon Miller - Butler University
- Jeff Boals - Stony Brook University
And he can recruit, too.
- 2006 - 2nd
- 2007 - 5th
- 2008 - 5th
- 2009 - no commits
- 2010 - 3rd
- 2011 - 6th
- 2012 - 100 (one commit, three-star)
- 2013 - 39th
- 2014 - 6th
- 2015 - 5th
- 2016 - 42nd
- 2017 - 24th
Whether or not those recruiting rankings were inflated by a Big 10 school with a large bank account remains to be seen if he is in fact hired to be the next basketball coach at Ole Miss. It also remains to be seen if he is healthy enough to be active on the recruiting trail and get out to camps, AAU tournaments, make trips to see recruits in their homes/schools, so on and so forth.
Point is, this is a bonafide BIG-TIME coaching name that is in town and seemingly interested in the coaching vacancy left at 762 All American Drive in Oxford, Miss.
As I said earlier, this IS certainly something.