For the second time this offseason, former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta has made a very public show of visiting a Southeastern Conference school with a head coaching vacancy, only to turn down an offer to coach there.
First, it was Ole Miss, and now, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Matta has turned down an offer to lead Georgia after the Bulldogs fired Mark Fox last week.
“It was the most difficult decision because Georgia is a tremendous opportunity for a coach to build a great program,” Matta told ESPN. “Unfortunately, I just don’t feel that I am completely ready at this point to give Greg McGarity and Georgia what they deserve.”
That line again brings into question whether or not Matta really wants to coach. The 50-year-old has a provision in his Ohio State buyout that he must continue to seek work, and both of his trips have been highly publicized, but came away without Matta making a commitment.
Of course, there’s also other possibilities, including not wanting to enter new recruiting grounds at this stage of his career. In that regard, a move to Pitt might make more sense. Matta is an Illinois native and worked at Xavier, Butler and Miami (Ohio) before coaching the Buckeyes, so a school that can recruit the Midwest might be more to his liking.
It’s unclear if there is mutual interest between Matta and Pitt. He and Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke overlapped during their tenure at Ohio State, but sources tell PSN that they didn’t have the kind of relationship that would be a significant factor, other than the fact that she’s aware of his physical limitations.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss has made a decision, hiring Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis. Davis hadn’t been definitively linked to the Pitt job, but came from the same pool of upper-tier mid-major coaches that Pitt will likely have to mine if the Panthers miss out on Matta, Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley, or any of the other top candidates in this cycle.