Matta out as OSU men's basketball coach after 13 seasons
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- After 13 seasons in charge, Ohio State's winningest coach will no longer lead the program.
Thad Matta announced the decision on Monday afternoon alongside OSU athletic director Gene Smith.
Smith cited the program's recent struggles in recruiting as the reason for the dismissal.
Seven players have left the program over the last 18 months (5 transfers, 1 left the program, 1 left early to turn professional), including all five members of the 2015 recruiting class.
When asked if he'd coach again, Matta was looking forward to taking time away with his family and getting back to full health.
Matta has struggled with health issues in the past stemming from a botched surgery that left him with back problems and a less than fully functioning right foot. Matta has walked with a limp on the sidelines, wears a supportive brace on his lower right leg and sits on a barstool instead of the regular bench seat at games for more back support.
It's directly effected his recruiting as well, limiting his ability to travel and watch recruits play.
A visibly emotional Matta said he was thankful and happy for his time and memories in Columbus. He also didn't want his dismissal as to characterize his legacy with the program and individually.
During his Buckeyes' tenure, Matta took OSU to 9 NCAA tournaments (including two Final Fours and a national championship game), but the past two seasons were a sharp decline with an NIT appearance in 2015-16 and no postseason berth last season, which was the first time since the Buckeyes were ineligible for NCAA violations in his first year in Columbus (2004-05). Prior to last season, Matta led OSU to 12 straight 20-win seasons and a winning record in Big Ten play.
He also won five Big Ten regular season titles and four tournament titles, which was the most during that span.
Matta had a 337-123 record with Ohio State (including 150-78 in Big Ten play). He broke Fred Taylor's previous school record of 297 wins at the start of the 2015-16 season.
Prior to Ohio State, Matta spent one year as head coach at Butler and three seasons at Xavier. In each season, his teams won at least one NCAA tournament game, including the Musketeers' Elite Eight run in 2003-04.
The university said a national search for Matta's successor will begin immediately.