Thad Matta is back as a coach – and back at Butler.
The Bulldogs announced Sunday that they are hiring Matta as their next head coach.
Matta, who spent the last year as associate athletic director at Indiana, replaces LaVall Jordan, who was fired Friday after five seasons as Butler’s head coach.
“The success Thad has achieved in each of his programs speaks for itself,” said athletic director Barry Collier. “He’s a world-class coach and scout who brings valuable experience and an infectious energy to Butler. I’ve seen that personally in Thad as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The Matta – Thad family, Barb, Ali and Emily — — has a deep appreciation for Butler and I know they join the entire Butler community in their excitement for what’s to come.”
Matta, 54, hasn’t coached in college since 2017, when he resigned as head coach at Ohio State. After two seasons in Columbus, the two parties mutually agreed to part ways that summer, though Matta made it clear during his farewell press conference that he wasn’t the one to start the conversation. He had battled health issues for several years, including undergoing back surgery in 2007 and dealing with nerve damage in one of his feet resulting from the operation.
Since then, Matta has been linked to several major job offers, including last spring in Indiana. He showed minimal interest in each of them. He even needed convincing when he returned to Butler. Sources told ESPN that the intermediaries surveyed Matta’s interest in February, and there didn’t seem to be much momentum on Matta’s side. Industry sources said a more likely return would come from the administrative side. But things started to change on Friday, and Matta’s hiring was formalized about 48 hours after Jordan left.
“Butler is a special place, one that Barb, Ali, Emily and I each chose as our school,” Matta said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program. There is a solid foundation in place and I am confident that Butler will always be among the best programs in the Greater East. J I can’t wait to tackle the work we have ahead of us and be back on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”
Matta now returns to his alma mater and where he spent seven seasons as an assistant and head coach. He achieved tremendous success during his time at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, appearing in the NCAA Tournament in 13 of his first 15 seasons as a head coach. In one season with Butler and three seasons with Xavier, he won at least one NCAA tournament game each season, including an Elite Eight run in 2004.
During his 12 seasons at Ohio State, Matta guided the Buckeyes to two Final Four appearances, including an appearance in the 2007 National Championship Game, where they lost to Florida. Over a four-year span, from 2010 to 2013, Ohio State topped the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament each season, going 13-4 in the tournament during that span. .
Matta’s career record is 439-154 overall, with a record of 337-123 at Ohio State.