One Year Removed From Coaching, Thad Matta is Enjoying Life Away From The Sideline

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lamplighter's picture

OSU was lucky to have him.  Honesty and integrity are rare commodities these days

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peidiwch â ffycin gyda'r Cymry

Hovenaut's picture

Agree, especially in today's major college basketball environment.

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

Silver Sniper's picture

After winning more than 400 games in his head coaching career, his opinion appears to be valued among some of the top coaches in the game. 

(John Beilein) 

BrutusB's picture

I have come to the conclusion that a successful coach can't be happy," he added. "You've got to be mad about something. To remove yourself from that, whew. It feels good."

Kind of a bleak take on the profession.  I don’t think he’s wrong, but still. Glad he’s doing much better.  

jpfbucks01's picture

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. Maybe this is what it took for him to be successful,

I think a broader way to say the same thing is you cant be "satisfied" and be a successful coach. You have to be impatient, always striving to be better. Always pushing, as Woody would say never be outworked.

That may or may not lead to you being "happy". The comment of always needing to be mad about something seems extreme to me. Dissatisfied? sure, Mad seems another step they may have worked for him but not sure is "required to be successful"

I think the lack of happiness is more on Thad than on the profession.

It may just be semantics and he means the same thing I am saying, but by simple definition being dissatisfied with a situation does not equal being mad every day as he insinuates

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

That sounds like my career as well...made me pretty uneasy reading about this......

BbBnD's picture

“As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”

-GB Shaw

southalabamabuckeye's picture

Matta is a class act. Proud to have him in Ohio State's coaching lineage.

GoBuckeyes1020's picture

Just trying to be cool and put food on the table every day man

C’mon coach

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret, take your pick

Wyandot Buckeye Fan's picture

That's such a b.s. statement by Thad. These overpaid coaches have no clue what it takes sometimes to put food on the table, not every person makes millions you know. I'm sure glad he's not coaching the basketball team anymore.


I didn't see the actual interview, but my guess this was more of a tongue in cheek comment.  I'm sure it was said with a chuckle or a grin.  But you know, that's context...obviously by your overreaction it's something you didn't think about.  While it was time for Matta to move on, he was a class act coach.  He took a team that had previous coaches that either didn't put up the wins, or got the program into trouble.  He brought the basketball team back to national prominence while doing it the right way.  Any Buckeye fan should be happy with the legacy he left even though the last few years were tough to watch.

BuckeyeBig2012's picture

Right up there with Latrell Sprewell when he turned down $21M for 3 years with the Bucks: "Man, I have a family to feed!"

KevinJ's picture

Glad Thad is feeling better physically, would be great to see him get into broadcasting. Would like to have a beer with Thad, I know he loves his Weber Kettle, it would be cool to talk Grilling/BBQ and whatever else comes up with Thad, he always seems very personable. 

MN Buckeye's picture

Matta is living life on his own terms, and he has earned that right.

bucksfan92's picture

Thanks for the update on Coach Matta.  He sounds, and looks, like a man who is content and living a stress-free life which he has certainly earned.  The qualities that made him a great coach - willing to burn the candle at both ends, being a perfectionist, always thinking about strategy etc., also contributed to his health issues.  When you go that hard and have an issue like he did with his foot you simply don't have the ability to heal and bounce back.  Selfishly as an OSU fan I wanted him to get back to his "old self" and stay here for 20 more years, but even if he were totally healthy I don't think that long of a stay was ever in the cards, as evidenced by this statement from him really hit home with me, because it's is - to a word - exactly how I felt when I sort of abruptly left a 25 year career:

In retirement, you sleep until you're tired of sleeping. You wake up, start your day and away you go," Matta said. "Being able to sleep through the night and wake up in a good mood. I haven't woke up in a good mood in 18 years. That's just what coaching is, you can't be happy.

So my words of wisdom to Thad (as if he needs any) are enjoy life, don't even think about going back into that stress pit.  Your relationships with your former players will be enough of a connection to the game.  

65 Toss Power Trap's picture

I agree with Matta's words and this reply. 

I also want to congratulate thousands of other coaches at the Jr High and High School level. Coaches who went through similar situations as Matta....working 24/7 to better their teams with kids that don't care,  parents who don't see the difference between a great coach and just a guy picking up a paycheck....and doing this stressful work for the love of the game and making a $3,500 stipend to their underpaid HS teaching position.

These guys retire or quit without a fully funded pension and millions in the bank. Its easier to handle stress when you make "$ 3 Million a year". Actually, it should be quite easy, knowing you are set for life......and that you will receive awards for the next 10 years whether earned or not.

Lots of free rubber chicken dinners/banquets telling you how great you were.

Many Jr High and HS coaches end up work at McDonalds to pay the bills.

Matta and many like him are fortunate.


Knowledge is Power

cricejr's picture

Man I love this guy, it's like the more I hear from him the more I love him. 

I bleed scarlet...literally

IGotAWoody's picture

Ditto. Always loved Matta, always will. Just a no BS kinda guy. And always represented himself and the university in the best possible way.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Daniel's picture

Class act all the way!  So glad he has his health back.

Va Buck

chibucks's picture

thanks for the update!  it's good to hear he's feeling rejuvenated and feeling better physically.  i can't imagine having the pressure of a whole fan base / university on you to succeed and to be in the limelight. 

MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

Glad to hear this.  Enjoy retirement, Coach!

OH-IO's picture

In Thad we trust

One of the good guys

OH-IO living BACK IN COLUMBUS after 32 years in the ATL. 

clevelandfan1's picture

Too bad he didn't see the handwriting on the wall and retire with grace instead of desperately hanging on for dear life and making Smith can him. Hope he can continue putting food on the table now that he's bleeding the university for every nickle he can get by arranging fake job interviews.

Love the Buckeyes

Barnsey69's picture

The university has plenty of nickels.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, the Uncomparable  Joe Burrow, and home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

CantonBuckeyes12's picture

They don’t come much more classy than Thad Matta! Glad to hear he is feeling better and enjoying life! 

We will fight to the end for OH-IO!

Ole Buckeye's picture

I know from experience, once you hit 60, you start thinking seriously about retirement, and what it will be like.  Will I like it? Will I be restless? Will I miss the grind of my career?

So, I love to see people who have retired, voluntarily or not, and find out that we can be complete people, and complete men, without the stress and demands of bringing home the bacon. 

I hope to retire in a year or two, but that's only from my grind.  I will find plenty of other stuff to do, maybe even another job, but something more relaxed, maybe less money, but enjoyable. 

Seems like part of the myth that was perpetrated back in the 50s and 60s was that men were put on this earth to work, put on that yoke, provide for their family, and then die a happy man! 

Screw that! 

Ethos's picture

I have always been told the key is to keep busy, but not stressful busy.  Volunteer, take on something part time with easy hours, pick up a hobby that takes you outside in the warm months.  Its the folks that retire then literally sit in their house and watch tv every day, those folks become depressed and don't last long.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Thad was a great's a shame that his tenure ended the way that it did.  However, I am glad the year away from coaching has served him well.  Stress is no joke.  It can mess with your health...exacerbate other issues that already exist.  I've seen it with my own wife years ago, after leaving a stressful job for a job that isn't as stressful...made a big difference in her in many ways.  I'm not surprised that Thad feels a lot better after being away from it.  I've said that I'd like to see him get back into coaching, but he doesn't exactly seem like he's dying to get back into it.  If it's better for him and his family that he stays out of it, then he should.  It's not like he needs to get back into it for the money.  

Class of 2010.

Hockeybuck's picture

Agree on the stress. I resigned from my job in July 2017. I was fortunate because I had sufficient resources to walk away.

The last straw was getting ready to go to work, started to feel dizzy, went back in the house and laid down. The room was spinning, and that never happened to me sober.  When I felt well enough, drove myself to urgent care where they diagnosed vertigo. Never happened before or since. 

My last day walking out of the office was literally like a yoke lifted off my neck. I was walking into an unsure future, but I felt good about it and it did wonders for my health.  

Back to the grind in a much less stressful position. All jobs have some stress, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed to the point where it consumes you.

Barnsey69's picture

Great write-up, thanks for letting us know what Thad has been up to the last year! I have been curious about his post b-ball life, and it is good to know he is doing well. And he is 100% correct, stress is REAL. Gotta take time for yourself if you can, makes a big difference.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, the Uncomparable  Joe Burrow, and home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

stxbuck's picture

Interesting comment about how a successful coach can never be happy.  I don't know if I agree with that or not-Mike Leach and Jim Tressel being exceptions to that rule.

DaveCHS's picture

I think College of Charleston or Citadel head coach is the only D1 job he'd truly consider if either of them happens to open up in the near future.

ibuck's picture

It would not surprise me if Thad did take a job at a small school—one without a lot of pressure. Or even if he worked a summer game, teaching youngsters how to improve their game.

Best wishes, Thad, and thanks for the memories!

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

sb97's picture

Its just nice to see him smile and be happy. 

Buctor's picture

Always a Matta fan.  Great to hear his health has improved.  Sorry to hear he was mad all the time.  (Hope he is wrong about that being the case for his profession.)

Sounds like most retired folks.  What ya doing?  I don't know, but I'm busy all the time.  Don't know how I ever had time for work!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!