Ohio State coach Thad Matta yells from the bench during an NCAA second round game against Iona at University of Dayton Arena. Barbara J. Perenic/Staff

Thad Matta taps former assistant for new role at Ohio State

Thad Matta’s makeover of the Ohio State basketball program continued this week with the announcement Alan Major has been hired as the team’s new director of recruiting and player development.

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Major will not coach players on the court, but he could still have an, um, significant impact on the Buckeyes.

His hiring is headline-worthy for a few reasons.

First of all, adding a former head coach (Major most recently led the UNC-Charlotte program from 2010-15) in an off-court capacity is a nice luxury for any program, but there’s more to it than that.


This is not Major’s first stint in Columbus, and the first one went extremely well.

With Major assisting Matta from 2005-10, Ohio State went 156-54 with three regular season Big Ten championships, three conference tournament titles and one Final Four.

Major was credited with playing a large role in the recruitment and development of six NBA first-round draft picks, including Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Evan Turner and Dayton Dunbar grad Daequan Cook.

As coach of Buckeye frontcourt players, he also helped mentor Terence Dials into the 2006 Big Ten Player of the Year.

Prior to coming to Ohio State, Matta and Major were together for three seasons at Xavier. The Musketeers made an Elite Eight appearance during that time and sent star big man David West to the NBA.

Like Jon Groce and Jeff Boals, Major parlayed his success under Matta into a head coaching position. Current Dayton head coach Archie Miller was also part of Matta’s staff during part of Major’s first tenure at Ohio State.


Major returns to Ohio State with the Buckeyes four years removed from their last regular season Big Ten title. They last made the Sweet 16 in 2013, when Wichita State denied them a trip to the Final Four with a regional final upset.

They have kept alive Matta’s streak of 20-win seasons but also logged at least 10 losses three years in a row as both recruiting and development have appeared to be on the wane.

Four players from last year’s recruiting class, including Dunbar point guard A.J. Harris, have transferred, but Matta has indicated he is ready to refocus the program from this point forward.

Bringing back a proven successful assistant such as Major looks like a good way to do that.

Ohio State also announced the hiring of Kyle Davis as video coordinator. He is a former OSU manager with two degrees from Ohio State.

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