Could Tom Crean or Thad Matta fill a Power 5 opening at Georgia?
The Georgia basketball head coaching job came open Saturday when the Bulldogs parted ways with Mark Fox. Both Crean and Matta, the former coaches of Indiana and Ohio State, respectively, are potential candidates for the job, according to Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation.
Crean and Matta are two of the biggest free agent coaches on the market, and they both could return to the sideline for the 2018-19 season. Here’s why Emerson said they could work at Georiga:
Tom Crean, former Indiana head coach: The highest-profile coaching free agent, Crean spent the past year out of coaching after being fired by Indiana. It didn’t end well for him there, but he led Marquette to a Final Four in 2003 (with the help of Dwyane Wade), then took Indiana to three Sweet 16 appearances (although not further). Crean, who will turn 52 in late March, seems to want to get back into coaching, but would he pick Georgia? Would he be a fit for Georgia, where football is king, a situation Crean has not had to deal with as a head coach?
Thad Matta, former Ohio State head coach: Another coaching free agent, though under different circumstances. Matta stepped down from Ohio State last year amid health reasons. Matta is actually two years younger than Crean, and Matta reportedly has also met with Ole Miss, so he seems ready to get back in. If he is, Georgia would be advised to check in on a veteran who was successful at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State – but who, like Crean, could wait to see what else is available. Matta does have a Georgia connection: His brother Greg is the coach at North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw.
As Emerson noted, Matta has been linked to the Ole Miss job and reportedly met with school officials in Oxford last week. Crean has also said he’s open to a return to coaching next season. Head coaching jobs at Pittsburgh and UConn are also already open as the college basketball coaching carousel begins to spin.