Ohio State basketball head coach Thad Matta and OSU AD Gene Smith held a press conference this afternoon in which Matta and the Buckeyes parted ways effective immediately, citing health as at least part of the reason for the decision.
"Taking the pills to coach, the pills to stop coaching, shots before the game, that stuff wears on you." _ Thad Matta.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 5, 2017
Suddenly there’s an opening at a Power 5 conference school with not only recent success, but a trip to the National Title game 10 years ago. With the coaching carousel having already completed its loop, now another top job is open.
One name that’s sure to come up? Tom Crean.
The obvious names for Ohio State include Chris Mack, Chris Holtmann & Mick Cronin. Have to wonder if Tom Crean gets a call.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 5, 2017
Crean, fired in March after nine seasons as IU head coach, remains a free agent at the moment, though on a recent episode of podcast Pardon My Take, he hinted that he might be taking a television job next year. This would make sense - Crean did some Final Four analysis for ESPN and showed he was a capable commentator during The Vertical’s NBA Draft coverage last year. He’ll be back on the Vertical’s Draft show this year, on June 22.
But, Crean has also expressed an interest in returning to coaching at some point. He’s the biggest name still available on the market and there will likely be fewer bigger-name college jobs available than the OSU job this season. And his brother-in-law just so happens to coach football at Ohio State’s biggest rival.
The speculation surrounding the job in Columbus has already started with many of the names involved in the Indiana search recycled again. It’s certainly worth mentioning that the Hoosiers likely dodged one in landing Archie Miller as he spent two years as an assistant for the Buckeyes.
However, with few big-name coaches left in the market and even fewer willing to join a new program in mid-June, Crean will almost certainly be a name tossed around in the coming days.
He makes sense given both his experience with the Big Ten and his ties to the area on the recruiting trail. But does he want to join a program that’ll need to rebuild? Does Ohio State want a coach who was just fired from a Big Ten rival? Will they have much of a choice?