Thad Matta, a former men’s basketball coach at Ohio State University and Butler University, has been introduced as the new head man for Bulldogs.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIA — Thad Matta’s first season as Butler’s head coach lasted just one season.
He’s hoping to stay a bit longer this time, following a similar script that helped the Bulldogs achieve record heights in the decade after he left.
The 54-year-old former Ohio State basketball coach was reintroduced to a fan base that welcomed him for three seasons as a player, six seasons on the coaching staff, and that one, unforgettable season he ran the show on Wednesday, more than 20 years after he departed his alma institution.
He never seemed to go.
Matta, according to Collier, is particularly prepared to help Butler regain its winning ways.
“We searched all over the globe for this sort of individual,” Collier added, pointing to Matta’s residence across the street.
Yes, Matta responded, he’d had several head-coaching offers in the last five years, but none of them seemed right. There were also unanswered doubts about Matta’s health.
He agreed to leave Ohio State after the 2016-17 season, citing worries that persistent problems stemming from a back operation he underwent in 2007 had harmed the team’s performance. For many years, Matta sat in a higher chair to get through practices and games, and his last season in Columbus, Ohio, was the only time he failed to win at least 20 games.
After leaving Butler, Chris Holtmann was appointed as Matta’s replacement.
Meanwhile, Matta went into retirement for the next four years until joining Indiana coach Mike Woodson’s staff last spring. It didn’t take long for Matta’s competitive impulses to resurface as his health improved.
“People constantly asked whether I’d come back, and I always replied yes if the right scenario presented itself,” he added. “I had no idea what the ideal arrangement was.”
Collier made the offer two days after Jordan was fired, and Matta accepted without hesitation.
Now comes the difficult part.
In the event that the physical issues reappear, Matta wants to use the transfer portal, attempt to keep players on Butler’s current roster on school, and complete the job he and Collier began all those years ago.
“Except for one thing: a national title, I’ve done all you can do in coaching. I’ve tried out for it “Matta said. “From the viewpoint of where the objective and purpose are, I say that. This initiative has progressed to that point, and that’s what we’re aiming for and pursuing.”