ATHENS — After spending a second straight day in Athens, Thad Matta is home in Indianapolis, mulling a five-year contract offer from Georgia worth at least $15 million to become its next basketball coach. A decision could come on Wednesday.
Matta, the former Ohio State coach, toured Stegeman Coliseum and other facilities on Tuesday. He was with his wife, Barbara, and the couple flew home Tuesday night.
Matta also spent Monday in Athens, accompanied by one of his daughters. He met with athletics director Greg McGarity and other officials.
Georgia has offered Matta an annual salary that is north of $3 million. The exact figure is not clear, but that would make him the second-highest paid basketball coach in the SEC, after Kentucky’s John Calipari. (That’s according to current salaries, and not including possible raises for other SEC coaches this offseason.)
Matta is expected to make a decision on Wednesday, although it could always stretch into Thursday.
While it’s clear that Matta is the first choice for Georgia, the school would be prepared to move on if he turns the offer down. All prospective candidates are not known, other than former Indiana coach Tom Crean, who was contacted by representatives for Georgia on Saturday.
Mark Fox was fired as Georgia head coach on Saturday after nine seasons.
The next coach will inherit a roster that loses Yante Maten, the AP SEC Player of the Year, as well as starting small forward Juwan Parker. And recruiting, which had been strong in Fox’s last couple of years, has hit a rough patch with the de-commitments of 2019 prospects Elias King and Ashton Hagans. (Hagans may reclassify to the 2018 season.)
But Georgia will return a potentially strong nucleus of young players. Forwards Nicolas Claxton and Rayshaun Hammonds had some good moments as freshmen, as did point guard Teshaun Hightower. Shooting guard Tyree Crump, who led the team in scoring in its final game of the year, will be a junior.