Sunday, July 11, 2004

Matta-Miller timeline



By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

In less than 48 hours this week, Xavier coach Thad Matta left for Ohio State and was replaced by Sean Miller. The following timeline recounts Ohio State's two-week courtship with Matta and Xavier's actions to hire Miller once Matta took the OSU job.

June 24

Matta and Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger discuss the Ohio State job by telephone.

June 28

Matta and Geiger meet at Lunken Airport. Matta gives Geiger an information packet about himself.

June 29

In a taped interview in his office, Matta tells an Enquirer reporter that OSU has not contacted him and that, "I'm not a candidate. It's that plain and that simple."

Tuesday

Late afternoon: Matta discusses the Ohio State job with Xavier officials and tells athletic director Dawn Rogers he is considering going to Columbus to interview Wednesday.

10:15 p.m.: Matta and Geiger talk by telephone, and Matta decides to visit Ohio State.

11:30 p.m.: Matta informs Rogers that he will go to Columbus on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday

4:30 a.m.: Matta leaves his Loveland home for Lunken Airport and his flight to Columbus.

6:30 a.m.: Matta arrives in Columbus.

7:15 a.m.: Matta and Geiger arrive at OSU's Schottenstein Center in a blue Chrysler Pacifica. The car drives down to the loading dock, 25 feet below a group of three reporters. Because semi trucks block the garage, Matta and Geiger are forced to exit the car outside the building, in plain view of the media.

8 a.m.: Members of OSU's advisory committee, including CBS analyst and former Buckeyes player Clark Kellogg, enter the Schottenstein Center.

9:45 a.m.: Matta and Geiger emerge from the Schottenstein Center and get into the blue Pacifica. The car, trailed by a half-dozen media vehicles, begins a 15-minute drive to OSU president Karen Holbrook's house. At several points, the Pacifica swerves on the freeway in an attempt to lose the media trailing the car.

10 a.m.: The Pacifica arrives at Holbrook's house and pulls into the gated driveway. A television crew and a reporter wait for Matta to exit the car. An unidentified person opens Matta's backseat door and shouts, "Just get in the house."

A reporter asks Matta if he has been offered the job, as he walks from the car to the back door of Holbrook's house. He does not respond.

10:50 a.m.: Matta and Geiger get back into the Pacifica and drive toward a private Columbus airport. Media vehicles are denied entrance as Matta is dropped off on the tarmac. Matta boards the plane and flies back to Cincinnati.

12:30 p.m.: Matta is stopped by a police officer for speeding on his way home from Lunken Airport.

He gets out of the ticket by telling the police officer, an OSU grad, that he took the Ohio State job. This contradicts Matta's and Geiger's statements that he has not yet been offered the job.

2 p.m.: Matta receives a call from Geiger and is offered the job.

6:30 p.m.: Matta calls Geiger and accepts the offer.

6:35 p.m.: Rogers meets with Xavier players, still not sure if Matta has taken the OSU job. Immediately after this meeting, Rogers gets a call from Matta, informing her he has taken the OSU job.

7:30 p.m.: Xavier holds a news conference to announce that Matta is no longer XU's coach, and Rogers says the search will begin immediately. She has spent the day preparing to meet with XU associate head coach Sean Miller.

8:15 p.m.: Rogers and Miller meet off campus for about 2 1/2 hours to discuss the Xavier vacancy. Rogers calls XU president Michael Graham after the meeting with Miller. Rogers says after meeting with Miller, "I didn't sleep because I was so excited."

10:30 p.m.: Matta meets with Xavier players at Cintas Center and is interviewed by local television stations. He says his comments in a June 30 Enquirer story in which he denied being a candidate and having been contacted by OSU were taken out of context.

Thursday

Early morning: Matta flies to New Jersey to begin recruiting.

11:45 a.m.: Miller is offered and accepts the Xavier job.

12:30 p.m.: Matta apologizes to an Enquirer reporter for saying his comments were taken out of context when in fact he was confused about the June 29 interview in his office on which the story was based.

2:30 p.m.: Miller is introduced at a Xavier press conference.

Thursday night: Miller meets with assistants Brandon Miller, Bill Comar and Mario Mercurio to discuss who will stay at Xavier and who will go to Ohio State and join Matta and assistants John Groce and Alan Major.

Friday

6 a.m.: Matta flies back to Cincinnati from New Jersey.

3 p.m.: Matta is introduced in Columbus as Ohio State's coach.




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