7 things to know about new Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann


Ohio State is set to name Chris Holtmann the 14th men’s basketball coach in school history Friday.

Here are seven things to know about the new Buckeye basketball mentor:

1. Holtmann is the reigning Big East Coach of the Year after leading Butler to a 25-9 record last season.

The Bulldogs were picked to finish sixth in the Big East but ended up with their second second-place finish in Holtmann’s three seasons in Indianapolis.

2. All three of Holtmann’s Butler teams made the NCAA tournament and won at least one game.

»RELATED: Where does Ohio State find its basketball coaches?

The Bulldogs were 14-5 against NCAA tournament teams last season, including a pair of wins over defending national champions Villanova. They beat Arizona, Cincinnati, Northwestern and Vanderbilt in nonconference play. 

3. Butler’s 2016 and ’17 recruiting classes ranked 45th and 34th in the country according to 247sports. Those are the two highest-rated recruiting classes in school history.

Each of Holtmann’s three Butler recruiting classes included an Ohio native, including 2017 four-star prospect Kyle Young of Massillon Jackson.

4. Holtmann, 45, was raised in Nicholasville in central Kentucky.

He played guard at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., where he majored in psychology.

Holtmann obtained a master’s from Ball State. 

5. After serving as an assistant at Geneva, Taylor and Gardner-Webb, Holtmann was an assistant at Ohio University under John Groce from 2008-10.

Groce was a teammate at Taylor and became the head coach of the Bobcats after a successful stint as an assistant to Thad Matta at Ohio State.

Holtmann helped guide the Bobcats team that upset Georgetown in the 2010 NCAA tournament. 

6. Holtmann’s first head coaching position was at Gardner-Webb, where he was named the Big South Coach of the Year in his third season.

He spent a season as an assistant at Butler before taking over as head coach on an interim (and eventually full-time) basis in late 2014.

7. Holtmann is the third straight Ohio State basketball head coach to be hired without any direct ties to the Buckeyes in his past.

Matta was the head coach at Xavier when he was hired in 2004, and his predecessor (Jim O’Brien) came from Boston College.

Like Holtmann, neither of them had worked at Ohio State previously.

The last time OSU stayed “in the family” for its new coach was 1989 when Springfield North alumnus Randy Ayers was promoted from assistant to replace Gary Williams. 



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