Thad Matta is back in training – back to Butler.
The Bulldogs announced Sunday that they will appoint Mata as their next head coach.
Mata, who spent the past year as Indiana’s associate athletic director, replaces Laval Jordan, who was sacked Friday after five seasons as head coach butler.
“The success that Thad has had on each of his shows speaks for itself,” said athletic director Barry Collier. “He is a championship-caliber coach and recruiter who brings valuable experience and infectious energy to Butler. I have personally seen it in Thad as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The Mata family – Thad, Barb, Ali and Emily – – have a deep appreciation for Butler and I know they join every community Butler at how excited we are for what’s to come.”
Mata, 54, hasn’t coached in college since 2017, when he stepped down as Ohio State’s head coach. After two seasons in Columbus, the two sides mutually agreed to separate that summer, though Mata made it clear in his farewell press conference that he wasn’t the one who sparked the conversation. He had struggled with health issues for several years, including undergoing back surgery in 2007 and dealing with nerve damage in one of his feet caused by the operation.
Since then, Mata has been associated with several major business opportunities, including this past spring in Indiana. Show minimal interest in all of them. He even needed persuasion upon his return to Butler. Sources told ESPN that brokers showed interest in Matta back in February, and there doesn’t seem to be much momentum on Matta’s side. Industry sources indicated that a return is likely to come on the administrative side. But things started to change on Friday, and Matta’s appointment became official about 48 hours after leaving Jordan.
“Butler is a special place, a place that Barb and I and Ali and Emily chose as our school,” Mata said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program. There is a solid foundation and I am confident Butler will always be among the best in the Big East. I can’t wait to attack the business ahead of us and return to the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”
Mata is now returning to his university and place where he spent seven seasons as assistant and head coach. He achieved a tremendous amount of success during his time at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, going to the NCAA Championship in 13 of his first 15 seasons as a head coach. In one season at Butler and three seasons at Xavier, he won at least one NCAA game each season—including the Elite Eight in 2004.
During his 12 seasons at Ohio State, Mata led the Buckeyes to two games in the Final Four, including an appearance in the 2007 National Championship game, where they lost to Florida. In a four-year period from 2010-13, Ohio State advanced after the first weekend of the NCAA Championship each season, going 13-4 in the championship during that period.
Mata’s career record is 439-154 overall, with a 337-123 in Ohio.
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