Report: Indiana Targeting Thad Matta, Knicks' Mike Woodson for Head Coach Job

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

FILE - In this March 8, 2017, file photo, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta gestures during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big Ten tournament against Rutgers, in Washington. Matta is out as coach of Ohio State after 13 seasons. Matta said Monday, June 5, 2017,  it was a
Nick Wass/Associated Press

With Brad Stevens making it clear he's remaining with the Boston Celtics, the search for the next Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball head coach moves on.

According to Rick Bozich of WDRB.com, New York Knicks assistant coach Mike Woodson "is believed to have interviewed with IU athletic director Scott Dolson on Saturday," while former Ohio State coach Thad Matta "moved into the middle of the discussion" for the Indiana vacancy Sunday.

Indiana parted ways with former head coach Archie Miller following the season. In four years at the helm of the Hoosiers, he finished 67-58 and never made an NCAA tournament. 

There was growing buzz that Stevens might abandon his NBA post to return to his home state of Indiana and take the Hoosiers' head coaching gig. But he shot that down in no uncertain terms Friday. 

"I said it the other day: I am not [considering the Indiana job]," he told reporters. "I tried to say it as clearly as I could and make sure people understand that that place, to me, is special."

"But I'm not a kid anymore. I'm a 44-year-old Massh--e," he added. "I swerve around others when I'm driving. I eat Dunkin' Donuts and I root for the Patriots. I've unfortunately been skewed in a lot of ways, I guess."

Like Stevens, the 62-year-old Woodson would bring NBA experience to the Indiana gig. He's served as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2004-05 to 2009-10) and the New York Knicks (2011-12 to 2013-14), along with stints as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers. 

He's also an Indiana alum and former Hoosiers player, so he has strong ties to the program, though he's never coached or recruited at the college level. 

On the other hand, Matta, 53, spent a season as Butler's head coach (2000-01), three seasons at the helm for Xavier (2001-02 to 2003-04) and 13 seasons leading Ohio State (2004-05 to 2016-17), with 13 NCAA tournament appearances and two Final Four berths to his name.

The question with Matta is whether his body can withstand the rigors of coaching. He left Ohio State in 2017 for health reasons and hasn't coached since, despite teams reportedly interested in his services. It remains to be seen if he would consider a return to the profession now with the Hoosiers job available.