By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer
Thad Matta said he went back and forth in his mind all night Tuesday, but in the end decided Ohio State was the right situation for him.
The former Xavier coach officially will be introduced today as Ohio State's new basketball coach after accepting the Buckeyes' offer Wednesday, almost one month after Jim O'Brien was fired June 8. Matta received a seven-year deal worth a guaranteed base of $760,000 in its first season, with a signing bonus of $300,000 and deferred compensation of $2 million over the term of the contract. Those figures do not include supplemental incentive contracts, including deals for TV and radio shows and shoes.
Ohio State also is expected to pay a buyout to Xavier, but XU athletic director Dawn Rogers would not say how much the buyout is worth, or even if Ohio State would have to pay one.
One of the most difficult parts of the decision, Matta said, was deciding Tuesday night if he even was going to interview with Ohio State the next day.
"Honestly, Tuesday night, I was not going to go to Ohio State," Matta said. "I was perfectly happy at Xavier."
Late that night, however, Matta said he felt he had to explore the opportunity.
After interviewing in Columbus on Wednesday morning, he flew to Cincinnati expecting to get an offer from Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger.
"I didn't know after I left (Columbus) if I was going to take it," Matta said.
By that evening, however, he had accepted Geiger's offer. Xavier assistants John Groce and Alan Major already have joined him at Ohio State, and could be followed by some or all of the three remaining Xavier assistants.
Matta delayed his announcement in Columbus until today because he was in Teaneck, N.J., attending a camp on the first day of the July evaluation period.
"I just wanted to get out," Matta said, "and get started today."
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