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Ohio State gives basketball coach Thad Matta $480,000 raise and adds a year to his contract


Ohio State gave men’s basketball coach Thad Matta a raise of almost $500,000, boosting his salary to just under $2.5 million a year, and added a year to his contract to extend it through the 2016 season.

In an addendum approved by the Ohio State Board of Trustees on Friday, Matta, in his fourth year as head coach, picked up another year on his contract by virtue of winning the 2007 Big Ten regular-season title.

He was paid almost $1.9 million a year ago under terms of a contract he signed in 2006. The contract addendum announced Saturday morning bumps his base salary $100,000 to $475,000 and the money he receives for “media, promotions and public relations” by $380,000 to $830,000.

“I appreciate the opportunity to continue on with what we set out to do three years ago and that is to build a national-level program,” Matta said in a statement. “We are excited with the support Ohio State, the alumni and our great fans have given our program. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

The raise makes Matta’s salary approach that of football coach Jim Tressel, who makes more than $2.6 million a year.

The addendum also provides a free jet for personal use for 15 hours per year up from 10 hours in the old contract.

The raise follows a season in which the program set a school record with 35 wins (and just four losses) and went all the way to the national championship game before losing to defending champion Florida. Ohio State has taken back-to-back outright Big Ten regular-season titles and also won the tournament title in March.

Matta was hired from Xavier on July 7, 2004, to take over a month after Jim O’Brien was fired for violating NCAA rules by giving money to a 7-foot-3 recruit. A lengthy NCAA investigation followed, with Ohio State holding Matta’s first Buckeyes team out of the postseason to try to offset possible penalties against the program.

O’Brien subsequently was awarded $2.5 million in lawsuit against the university for wrongfully firing him. The award was affirmed by an appeals court Thursday, and Ohio State is considering an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

After Matta’s first team went 20-12, the Buckeyes surprised many by going 26-6 a year ago, winning the Big Ten’s regular-season title and getting into the NCAA tournament before losing in the second round to Georgetown.

Matta then recruited one of the best classes at Ohio State, led by 7-foot center Greg Oden, Indianapolis high school teammate Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook. They led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA title game since 1962 and then all three made themselves available for the NBA draft.

Oden was taken first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, but will miss all or most of what would have been his rookie season because of knee surgery. Conley was taken fourth overall by Memphis and Cook went No. 21 to Philadelphia and then was traded to Miami.

The Buckeyes return one starter from last year’s team, Jamar Butler, but have another respected recruiting class to build around.

Ohio State opens the upcoming season Nov. 12-13 in Columbus in the Preseason NIT.

–Associated Press

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