'A long, strange trip': Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach

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The past two years, though, (or the past four, depending which insane Ohio State fan you're talking to) have been rough for the Buckeye faithful.

Thad Matta, one of the most successful coaches of the modern era in Big Ten basketball, is officially out at Ohio State. He has been troubled for years by chronic back problems that sometimes prevented him from taking off his shoes after a game.

Matta said during the press conference he hasn't ruled out coaching again, but that he wants to get healthy. "This is a very fickle business that we're in", Matta said in March after Ohio State lost to Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament.

Thad Matta had been one of the most consistent winners in the country since arriving in Columbus, Ohio, having made nine NCAA tournaments in his first 11 seasons, with the Buckeyes ineligible for postseason play in his first year.

The Buckeyes reached the Elite Eight the next year, but since 2013, Thad Matta's teams have just one NCAA tournament victory, missing the tournament entirely in the past two seasons. With that, Matta's highly successful 13-year tenure at the school came to an end.

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Matta, a Hoopeston native, coached Ohio State for 13 seasons and leaves as the program's all-time leader in wins (337) and games coached (460) in Ohio State history.

The Buckeyes said a national search for a new coach would begin right away. Ohio State isn't anywhere near the top of the Big Ten as Matta exits. "And during that conversation, it became apparent to me, that we probably needed to facilitate a change", Smith said. "Recruiting is a major part of it, and we weren't winning the recruiting battles", Smith said.

If I were Ohio State, I'd want these coaches, too. As I told Gene, 'Hey, timing is never good for a coaching change.' The July period is a huge deal.

It wasn't so much that Matta's Ohio State teams were great, either. With Smith talking Monday about wanting to better recruit the Buckeye State, hiring someone from an in-state program would be a plus.

It seemed like Matta always had Purdue's number both on and off the court, so in that regard I won't miss seeing him on the sidelines. "That this program was run the right way".

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