It's official...Thad Matta isn't going anywhere. Not that there was ever any indication from Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith that his basketball coach was in any kind of trouble, but--after a second straight sub-par regular season and a Yahoo Sports story this week that Matta's back and foot issues have some industry wondering about his longevity, Smith put an end to the chatter with a statement on Wednesday.
"Thad's record at Ohio State is an outstanding 337-122; a winning percentage of .734," Smith said in the statement. "He is the all-time wins leader and owns the record for the most games coached at Ohio State. His teams have won five Big Ten titles and made nine NCAA postseason appearances. What Thad's teams at Ohio State have accomplished--both on and off the court--is highly commendable."
Chatter about Matta's future became louder as this Ohio State team struggled to a 17-14 record and just 7-11 in the Big Ten--both low water marks in the Matta era. That--coupled with Matta's on going back issues, which he revealed this week, have been fodder for ugly recruiting tactics by opponents, may have prompted Smith to clear the air and make it clear that Matta, for now, is in good standing with his AD.
"While we are not currently where we aspire to be with our performance on the court, Thad understands better than anyone that component has to improve. I am confident in his leadership to return the program to the winning ways we have all enjoyed during his 13-year tenure," Smith said. "We have had tremendous success with Thad as our basketball coach. His commitment to developing young men in a holistic way and running our program with the highest of integrity continue to be hallmarks of his leadership."
The statement comes as the Buckeyes get ready to take the court in the Big Ten Tournament. They play Rutgers Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. The Smith statement on Matta was met with support from one of Coach Matta's best known former players, Aaron Craft.