The Butler Bulldogs just fired LaVall Jordan a few days ago as their men’s basketball coach, and they moved fast to hire a replacement. The hire is a bit of a shocker, with Thad Matta returning to his old stomping grounds.

Here’s Matta’s statement:

“Butler is a special place, one that Barb, Ali, Emily and I each chose as our school,” said Matta. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program. There is a solid foundation in place and I’m confident that Butler will consistently be among the top programs in the BIG EAST. I can’t wait to attack the work we have in front of us and to be back on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”

Matta spent part of his college playing career at Butler and had two different stints as an assistant coach before taking over as a first-time head coach for the 2000-01 season. He immediately became a rising star thanks to a strong season with the Bulldogs, and he left for Xavier after that one campaign.

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The head coach saw continued success at Xavier, including a trip to the Elite Eight. After three seasons, Matta then went to Ohio State. That began a long tenure with the Buckeyes, which featured two trips to the Final Four and one National Championship Game appearance in 2007. That team featured Greg Oden and Mike Conley, but Ohio State lost to a loaded Florida squad.

Matta coached the Buckeyes until 2017, when he stepped down due to health issues and a decline in performance. He won five Big Ten regular-season titles with Ohio State and four Big Ten Tournaments.

Now Matta returns to Butler to try to turn around a program that just went through an awful 2021-22 campaign under Jordan. The Bulldogs went 14-19 overall and 6-14 in the Big East. Only Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas were worse.

Matta has been away from the game for a bit now, so this could be seen as a risk after how things ended at Ohio State. But he has the Butler ties and has been a highly successful coach in his career, so the Bulldogs are happy to make a splash and take the chance.