Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta received positive feedback in his most recent performance review with athletic director and recently promoted Vice President Gene Smith, but Smith wants Matta to be more involved with promoting the Buckeyes’ early non-conference games.
In his most recent performance review dated Sept. 4, Smith used words like “outstanding” and “remarkable” to describe Matta’s performance last season, according to public records requested Feb. 4 by The Lantern and received Monday.
In the overall comments portion of the review, Smith said Matta “continues to be one of the premier coaches in the country,” and called his leadership “outstanding.” However, Smith referenced the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule in the “opportunities for improvement” section.
“Needs to assist the department in promoting early non-conference games to strengthen interest and attendance,” Smith said.
OSU coasted through its 13 non-conference contests this season, winning each game by at least 10 points except the 64-61 decision against Notre Dame Dec. 21.
The weak non-conference slate could have hurt the Buckeyes in the long run, who later lost five of seven Big Ten games in January.
As for last season, OSU finished 29-8, won the Big Ten Conference Tournament, earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and made it to the Elite Eight before bowing out to Wichita State, 70-66. Overall, the report indicated Smith was pleased with the job Matta and company did.
“This past year was another remarkable performance competing in a 4th Sweet 16 in a row and advancing to the Elite 8,” Smith said in the review. “The team exceeded all public expectations.”
Matta’s performance is broken down into eight subheads: Academic Success of Program, Competitive Success of Program, Commitment to Compliance, Student-Athlete Welfare, Leadership, Communication, Budget Management and Public Relations/Donor Relations.
Each subhead has different categories to assess Matta’s performance, and all were marked as a “strength,” with the exception of Commitment to Compliance, Budget Management and Public Relations/Donor Relations. Matta “met performance standards” in those three areas, as noted in the report.
None of the sections were marked as “opportunity for improvement.”
The team’s overall GPA was 2.82, with four players — then-senior guard Alex Rogers, then-junior guard Aaron Craft, then-sophomore forward Sam Thompson and then-freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle — being named Scholar Athletes for finishing the school year with a GPA of 3.7 or above.
Matta is in his 10th season at the helm of the men’s basketball program, notably being the only coach in the country to lead his team to four straight Sweet Sixteens. His record is 121-27 in those four years, with each team notching at least 28 wins each season.
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