Matta, 49, is perhaps the greatest coach in the history of Ohio State's men's basketball program, but he's always been dealing with some health problems.
"We came to a mutual understanding, and it was time for a change in the basketball program", athletic director Gene Smith said at a press conference with Matta today. The Hoopeston, Illinois native won five Big Ten Championships with Buckeyes and made Final Four appearances in 2007 and 2012.
Matta's teams won at least 20 games in 12 consecutive seasons. His 337 wins with the Buckeyes makes him the program's all-time winningest coach.
Ohio State has reached two Final Fours and one national championship game, losing to Florida in 2007.
"While this may be a surprise to many, it's the right thing for our program at this time", Smith said. He has been troubled for years by chronic back problems that sometimes prevented him from taking off his shoes after a game.
Matta, who will work on getting healthy in the short term but could eventually go back to coaching, said his health issues have gotten in the way of his ability to coach.
"This has been probably the greatest 13 years of my life", Matta said.
"We weren't winning the battles in recruiting that I thought we might have a chance to win", said Smith, stating that recruiting is the lifeblood of the program. The Buckeyes last missed the Big Dance two years in a row during a three-year absence from 2003-05. The best recruits of the 2017 class are signed. An.
The Hoopeston native played college basketball at Southern Illinois and Butler before starting a long career in coaching as an assistant at Indiana State in 1990. The Buckeyes limped to the end of this season, and then star guard JaQuan Lyle left the team without public explanation. "Besides wins and losses, he (Matta) has set a standard with culture and how we do things the right way". And that to me is something that I want to hold or hang my hat on.