Butler hires Thad Matta: Ex-Ohio State coach Xavier returns as Bulldogs program makes splash

servant announced on Sunday that it will be hiring Thad Matta as its next after-school men’s basketball coach fired LaVall Jordan on Friday after five seasons. Matta is a former Butler Guard who was the program’s head coach during the 2000-01 season before stopping xavier and State of Ohio. Matta has not been a coach since the end of the 2016-17 season, which was his 13th as Ohio State head coach.

“The success Thad has achieved on each of his programs speaks for itself,” said Barry Collier, Butler’s athletic director. “He is a championship-level coach and recruiter who brings valuable experience and infectious energy to Butler. I’ve personally seen that with Thad as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The Matta family – Thad, Barb, Ali and Emily – have a deep appreciation for Butler and I know they will join the whole Butler community as we look forward to what is to come.”

Matta, 54, owns a career mark of 439-154. He led the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 2007 and 2012. Ohio State finished its last season 17-15 (7-11 Big Ten) and missed the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. In June 2017, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith announced that Matta would not be returning. Indiana hired Matta last March as assistant athletic director for basketball, a role he has worked in for the past year.

“Butler is a special place, one that Barb, Ali, Emily and I have each chosen as our school,” Matta said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program. There is a solid foundation and I am confident that Butler will continue to be one of the top programs in the Great East. I can’t wait to get started on the work that we have ahead of us and to be back on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”

Jordan’s ousting for Matta marks a significant upheaval within the Butler basketball family. Matta coached Jordan for three seasons as an assistant to Collier, who is now an athletic director. When Collier left to coach Nebraska after the 1999-00 season, Matta was promoted to boss for the 2000-01 season.

With Jordan as the second-top scorer, this team became the first Butler team to win an NCAA tournament game since 1962. Matta then switched to Xavier. The Musketeers were then playing in the Atlantic 10, which was a better league than Butler’s Midwestern Collegiate Conference. In the years since, Butler called the Horizon League and A-10 home before moving to the Big East for the 2013-14 season after rising to national prominence under Brad Stevens.

Butler reached the 2018 NCAA tournament under Jordan’s stewardship in his first season after taking on Chris Holtmann, who left to replace Matta State of Ohio. The Bulldogs never returned to the big dance during Jordan’s tenure, although the team was on track to bid in 2020 before the event was canceled due to COVID-19 with a 22-9 record.

Jordan’s departure came late in the 2022 coaching cycle, at a time when nearly every other significant position that became vacant had already been filled. The timing was due to the fact that Jordan’s buyout number dropped on Friday, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

As it turned out, Matta was waiting on deck to be introduced less than 48 hours later.

“Thad Matta is an exceptional choice to lead our men’s basketball program,” said Butler President James Danko. “In Thad, Butler gets a first-rate individual who has put together one of the strongest resumes in all of college basketball in decades. He is a Bulldog who embodies the excellence and character that we hope all of our graduates strive to achieve in their respective industries and in everyday life. Our basketball program is in great hands under Thad’s leadership.”

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