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Thad Matta out as Ohio State basketball coach

Ohio State will be looking for a new basketball coach even earlier than expected.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, it was reported that Thad Matta would get one more season as Ohio State’s basketball coach before retiring. But it looks like Ohio State will actually need to find a new basketball coach sooner. Much sooner, in fact.

“Thad Matta will no longer be the head men’s basketball coach,” per the university. A national search for the next Buckeye head coach will begin immediately. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said, “Thad and I came to a mutual understanding that a leadership change was needed.”

Matta coached for 13 years at Ohio State, and amassed a 337-123 (.733) record. He won 20 games a season for 12 consecutive years, made two Final Fours, three Elite Eights, and won the Big Ten five times. He’ll leave Columbus as Ohio State’s all time winningest coach.

Thanks for everything you did for Ohio State University Men's Basketball, Thad.

Posted by Land-Grant Holy Land - For Ohio State fans on Monday, June 5, 2017

But the program had declined over the last several seasons, missing the NCAA Tournament the last two years, and missing the NIT entirely last season. Given Ohio State’s decline in recruiting, roster losses from transfers, it was clear that some sort of change was needed.

Matta was visibly emotional during the press conference, and thanked everyone involved with the Ohio State program for the opportunity to coach at the school for nearly a decade and a half. He also specifically thanked his doctors, who helped manage regular back issues to stay on the sideline.

When asked what his future held, Matta said, “Never say never,” but that he is focused foremost on getting healthy, and get his body “back where I can be serviceable.”

We’ll have more on this search as it develops.