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Butler Hires Thad Matta: College Basketball World Shocked

Thad Matta reacting to a call from a referee.

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes questions a call against the Florida Gators November 16, 2010 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Butler Bulldogs were the last team to fire their head coach at the end of the 2021-22 basketball season. But Butler may have landed one of the best coaches on the open market with the hire of Thad Matta.

Butler announced the hiring/return of Matta as their new head coach today. The former Bulldogs player, assistant and head coach returns after spending the 2021-22 season as the associate athletic director at Indiana.

Butler fired head coach LaVall Jordan last week after going just 14-19 - their most losses in a season in 40 years. Jordan went 83-74 in five years but just 40-54 in the Big East. The Bulldogs have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2018.

Bulldogs fans are thrilled to have Matta back in the fold. Some are concerned about health problems that Matta has spoken about in the past. But if he's healthy, they'll be happy:

Thad Matta played for Butler from 1987 to 1990 and later spent several years as an assistant under Barry Collier. After Collier joined Nebraska in 2000, Matta was named his replacement and led Butler to the NCAA Tournament after winning regular season and conference tournament titles.

Matta parlayed his one year at Butler into three very successful years at Xavier, which earned him the head coaching job at Ohio State. He went 337-123 at Ohio State from 2004 to 2017, making the NCAA Tournament nine times.

In 2007, Matta led the Buckeyes to the Final Four for the first time since 1962, ultimately losing the title game to Florida. He stepped down in 2017, having led the Buckeyes to five regular season titles, four Big Ten Tournament titles and an NIT title.

Butler could hardly have chosen a more qualified coach to lead them forward.