INDIANAPOLIS – They say you can’t go home again. Don’t tell Thad Matta.
Butler reintroduced Matta as its head men’s basketball basketball coach with an on-court ceremony at Hinkle Fieldhouse open to fans on Wednesday afternoon.
The 54-year-old takes over a program he led 22 years ago to a conference regular season championship, a conference tournament title and a win in the NCAA Tournament.
He left an impressive head coaching run at Ohio State, including two trips to the Final Four five years ago with health issues, but says he feels great now.
He spent last season as an associate athletic director at Indiana helping Mike Woodson navigate the college game, which game him the itch to coach again.
“People would always ask me wherever I go, they’d say ‘coach, are go going to get back in?” Matta recalled. “I always said the same thing. If I found the perfect situation, I think I would do it, but I don’t know what the perfect situation is.
“When I got the call [from Butler], I said think I found the perfect situation. It was there, but it had to be right.”
Matta is taking over a team with back-to-back losing seasons. The Bulldogs finished 14-19 and in ninth place in the Big East this year after a 6-14 league mark.
“I know how I want to play, but how can we play to give us a chance win basketball games,” said Matta. “I would open up my new tenure at Butler by lying if I said this is exactly what we’re going to do.
“We’re going to have our things that are important to us and we know we want to do everytime we take the floor. I love the challenge of a new start and I hope our players love the challenge of having a fresh start and a new opportunity ahead.”