Thad Matta’s stint in Bloomington was short-lived.
After spending the 2021-22 season as the Associate Athletic Director for Basketball Administration at Indiana working under AD Scott Dolson, Matta was named Sunday as the new head coach at Butler.
The new position will mark a return trip to Butler for Matta. The Indianapolis school is both his alma mater, and he coached there during the 2000-01 season.
In his 17 years as a college head coach, which includes stints at Butler, Ohio State and Xavier, Matta possesses a record of 439-154 (.740). Matta’s teams won 20 or more games in 16 of those 17 seasons, advancing to the NCAA Tournament 13 times. His 2007 and 2012 Ohio State teams reached the Final Four.
Matta was speculated to be a candidate for the IU head coaching position last year, and other positions in college basketball since he left Ohio State.
But after the 2016-17 season, the only year in his career in which his team didn’t win at least 20 games, he resigned from Ohio State because long-standing complications and pain from a botched back surgery in 2007 had become too much for him to bear and continue coaching.
The idea to hire Matta last spring at IU came from Dolson, and Matta ended up reporting directly to the IU AD rather than Woodson.
Dolson saw an opportunity to get Matta back in the fold without forcing him back on to the sideline or the recruiting trail where his pains might be aggravated. He knew Matta — a Butler graduate who lives in Indianapolis and managed to pluck Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. out of Indy to lead Ohio State’s 2007 Final Four team — was an Indiana fan as a boy and would be interested in the opportunity.
Matta presented a potentially valuable resource for Woodson, who had never coached in the college game.
“In my mind I started thinking about this team and really based on what Woody was asking me for and what he needed and then knowing in my conversations with Thad, his basketball mind, his knowledge of the business speaks for itself,” Dolson said last March. “I just started formulating this plan.”
But Woodson ended up forming his own group of primary consultants and advisors that he has leaned on more heavily, however. That includes Director of Basketball Administration Armond Hill, along with consultants Randy Wittman and Jim Todd.
Now Woodson will compete with Matta on the recruiting trail for top talent in the Midwest, something that was a strength of the new Butler head coach prior to his health issues.
The Crossroads Classic came to an end in 2021, meaning there are no immediate plans for IU and Butler to play in the near future.
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