Georgia swung big to fill its men’s basketball coaching opening, but is now moving on to the next candidate on its list.
Former Ohio State coach Thad Matta told ESPN.com he turned down the chance to be Bulldogs coach.
“It was the most difficult decision because Georgia is a tremendous opportunity for a coach to build a great program,” Matta told Jeff Goodman. “Unfortunately, I just don’t feel that I am completely ready at this point to give Greg McGarity and the University of Georgia what they deserve. It’s truly a special place, and he is a tremendous leader I would have loved to work for.”
The 50-year old Matta guided the Buckeyes to two Final Fours, including a national championship game appearance in 2007 against Florida in Atlanta. His Buckeye teams made nine NCAA tournament trips during his 13 seasons, but missed out on the tournament in his last two seasons.
The Hoopeston, Ill. native, visited campus Monday with his daughter and was the only person known to have interviewed with McGarity and other school officials.
At .740, Matta ranks 24th on the NCAA’s all-time winning percentage list for Division I coaches with at least 10 years of experience. He compiled a 439-154 record in 17 seasons at Ohio State, Xavier and Butler, and is Ohio State’s all-time leader in wins after finishing with a 337-123 record.
Matta was making about $3.2 million annually at Ohio State.
Ohio State parted ways with him with recruiting faltering and Matta dealing with health issues, including chronic back problems.
Matta was to receive a $9 million as a buyout from the Big Ten school, including a lump sum of $4.316 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The rest would come in monthly payments and he also would get medical benefits. By taking another job, Ohio State would not be obligated to continue the monthly payments and Matta would be required to repay a percentage of money.
Georgia will continue its search to replace Mark Fox, who was fired on Saturday after nine seasons with two NCAA tournament appearances.
Former Indiana coach Tom Crean was also on Georgia’s radar and the school could have interest in mid-major coaches like Earl Grant from the College of Charleston and Wes Miller from UNC-Greensboro.
Crean met Tuesday with Pittsburgh about its opening, according to ESPN.com.
Georgia reached out earlier through a third-party to Xavier’s Chris Mack and Texas’ Shaka Smart, CBS’ Gary Parrish said on his Memphis radio show on 92.9 FM.
Source : http://www.onlineathens.com/sports/20180314/thad-matta-turns-down-georgia-coaching-job