To Gene Smith, Thad Matta remains the right man to lead the Ohio State men's basketball team.
Ohio State's Vice President and Director of Athletics released a statement to the media on Wednesday afternoon in support of Matta, citing a recent conversation between the two men about the status of the program.
The full statement:
“Recently, Thad and I had a great discussion regarding the future of our Men’s Basketball Program,” Smith said. “Thad’s record at Ohio State is an outstanding 337-122; a winning percentage of .734. He is the all-time wins leader and owns the record for most games coached at Ohio State. His teams have won five Big Ten titles, and made nine NCAA postseason appearances. What Thad’s teams at Ohio State have accomplished – both on and off the court – is highly commendable.
“While we are not currently where we aspire to be with our performance on the court, Thad understands better than anyone that component has to improve. I am confident in his leadership to return the program to the winning ways that we have all enjoyed during his 13 year tenure.
“We have had tremendous success with Thad as our basketball coach. His commitment to developing young men in a holistic way and running our program with the highest of integrity continue to be hallmarks of his leadership.”
This statement from Smith reiterates a Yahoo! Sports report from late Monday that Matta would return for a 14th season in Columbus. Matta spoke on Tuesday about various negative recruiting tactics opposing coaches have used against Ohio State with the coach's declining health but reiterated he feels the best he has in years.
After going 17-14 this season and 7-11 in conference play, Matta and Ohio State are set to face Rutgers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.