Matta Zings Michigan at Roundball Spectacular
By Brandon Castel
They say it’s important to know your audience.
Few coaches are better at it than Ohio State’s very own Thad Matta.
While it often appears as though his head might actually explode when he is ‘sharing’ his thoughts with Big Ten referees during the season, Matta’s secret life as the jokester and resident funnyman in Columbus is, well, not much of a secret.
At least not anymore.
Head Coach Thad Matta
File Photo by Jim Davidson
Nobody laughs harder at Matta’s jokes than Matta himself, but Ohio State’s basketball coach brought an audience of more than 1,000 to a roaring cackle on Wednesday at the 23rd-annual Pigskin Roundball Spectacular in Mason, Ohio.
Matta shared keynote-speaking duties with first-year OSU football coach Urban Meyer at this year’s fundraiser for Middletown charities. Meyer admitted to having a ‘My God, I’m really here’ moment during this year’s Spring Game.
“Chris Spielman called me early on the morning of the spring game and said, ‘Promise me one thing. Today at some point when you’re on the field at Ohio Stadium’ — it’s 46 degrees and raining and there are over 80,000 nut jobs watching the Buckeyes play a practice — he said, ‘At some point take your mind off the game and take it all in,’ ” Meyer shared.
“I promised (Spielman) I would, then I forgot. ... But at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the Best Damn Band in the Land was playing ‘Hang on Sloopy,’ I finally turned around and stared and said, ‘My God, I’m really here.’ And I enjoyed every frickin’ second of ‘Hang On Sloopy.’ ”
That is music to the ears of every Ohio State fan, not just those in the band, but it was Matta who left with the most memorable moment of the event.
Of course, it came at the expense of Ohio State’s archrivals from the north.
“Their new football coach calls us Ohio (as opposed to Ohio State),” Matta quipped at the event on Wednesday.
“The basketball coach calls us Ohio. ... A reporter asked me one time, ‘Thad, how do you feel about them calling you Ohio?.’ I said, ‘My man, I’m 16-3 against Michigan in eight years. They can call us whatever they want to.’ ”
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