Thad Matta waited for the right job to open; gets it in return to head Butler Men’s Basketball Program

4/3/2022

Thad Matta has returned to his alma mater to lead the Butler men’s basketball program as head coach for a second time. Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier made the announcement Sunday, April 3.

In his 17 years as a college head coach, which includes stints at Butler, Ohio State and Xavier, Matta possesses an incredible 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.

“The success that Thad has achieved at every one of his programs speaks for itself,” said Collier. “He is a championship-caliber coach and recruiter who brings valuable experience and contagious energy to Butler. I have seen that personally in Thad as a player, assistant coach and head coach. The Matta Family – Thad, Barb, Ali and Emily – has a deep appreciation for Butler and I know they join all of the Butler community in how excited we are for what’s to come.”

“Butler is a special place, one that Barb, Ali, Emily and I each chose as our school,” said Matta. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program. There is a solid foundation in place and I’m confident that Butler will consistently be among the top programs in the BIG EAST. I can’t wait to attack the work we have in front of us and to be back on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”

“Thad Matta is an exceptional choice to lead our men’s basketball program,” said Butler University President James Danko. “In Thad, Butler is getting a first-class person who has put together one of the strongest résumés in all of college basketball over the past few decades. He is a Bulldog who embodies the excellence and character that we hope all of our graduates aspire to achieve in their respective industries and daily life. Our basketball program is in great hands under Thad’s leadership.”

As the Head Coach at Ohio State
With the Buckeyes (2004-2017), Matta led OSU to two Final Four appearances including the 2007 National Championship game, a total of nine trips to the NCAA Tournament, five Big Ten regular season championships, four Big Ten Tournament titles, and the 2008 NIT crown. The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year is the all-time winningest coach at Ohio State where he was 337-123 in 13 seasons, including a 150-78 mark in Big Ten play. Matta is the third all-time winningest coach by percentage in Big Ten Conference history (.733).

While leading Ohio State, he also finished with five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, seven Big Ten Tournament Championship game appearances, saw 10 of his former players selected in the NBA Draft, 11 earn first-team All-Big Ten accolades, and posted 20 wins or more in a season 12 times. Matta was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

In his Time at Butler (as Head Coach, Assistant Coach and Student-Athlete)
Matta returns to Butler where he began his head coaching career during the 2000-01 season. He was named 2000-01 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in his one season at the helm at Butler after leading the Bulldogs to a then school-record 24 wins. Butler won a league regular-season championship, a MCC tournament championship and made an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

A high school basketball standout at Hoopeston-East Lynn in Hoopeston, Ill., Matta was a two-year starter for Butler in three seasons after transferring from Southern Illinois as a sophomore. He led Butler in assists (100) and 3-point field goal percentage (.433) in 1987-88 and in free throw percentage in 1988-89 (.872). He served as a team captain on Collier’s first team in 1989-90.

Matta served as an academic coordinator and administrative assistant at Butler (1991-94) and as Collier’s top assistant with the Bulldogs during the 1999-2000 season.

As the Head Coach at Xavier
In three seasons (2001-04) leading the Xavier program, Matta posted a 78-23 mark (.772) and made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Musketeers captured two regular-season championships and two tournament titles with Matta at the helm. His 2004 team advanced to the Elite Eight, the program’s best finish in school history. He led the Musketeers to three consecutive 26-win seasons, back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championships (2002 and 2003) and league tournament titles in 2002 and 2004. 

Additional Experience
Most recently, Matta spent the 2021-22 season as the Associate Athletic Director for Basketball Administration at Indiana University, working closely with Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Dolson and head coach Mike Woodson on all facets of the Hoosier program.

He also served as an assistant on staffs at Indiana State, Miami (Ohio) and Western Carolina prior to returning to Collier’s Butler staff in 1999.

Personal
Matta earned a B.S. degree (education) from Butler in 1990. He and his wife, Barb, have two daughters, Ali and Emily. Barb and Ali are also Butler graduates, while Emily is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Butler.

COURTESY BUTLER ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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