The last time the Ohio State Buckeyes dipped in to the pool of coaches from Butler it worked out pretty well. Over a decade ago, former Butler and Xavier head coach Thad Matta was named the Buckeyes’ head coach.
His successor comes from the same tree (sorta), as third-year Butler head coach Chris Holtmann has agreed to replace Matta at the helm of Ohio State’s program. According to reports, Holtmann’s contract is for eight years and will pay him about $3.1 million annually.
It’s a big bump in pay for Holtmann, who had just signed a long-term extension with the Bulldogs a few months ago. That deal was set to pay him $1.2 million per year.
Apparently money talks a lot more than honoring your word and contract in this case. It is hard to turn down an extra couple of million a year to be sure, and the move happened quickly. After reports of Greg McDermott and Fred Hoiberg sitting atop the wish list and turning down the Buckeyes, things may have worked out for the best.
While Holtmann and Matta both coached at Butler, that’s where the similarities really end. Holtmann isn’t from the Matta coaching tree in the least. He was a previous assistant to John Groce at Ohio and also to Brandon Miller at Butler before getting his shot as a head coach.
It’s worked out well, as he owns a three-year record of 70-31 (.693). His Butler teams finished second, fourth and second respectively during those three years and made the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament this past season.
Holtmann also had a three-year stint as the head coach at Gardner-Webb (2010-2013), where he improved from 11 wins in his first season to 21 wins and a berth in the CollegeInsider.com tournament. After the 2013 season, Holtmann moved on to a position as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs.
Those are all attractive qualities, but Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also sees his abilities on the recruiting trail and his Midwestern roots as a big deal too.
“Chris is focused on academics, is a high-integrity person, a relentless recruiter with Midwestern ties and a proven winner,” Smith said in a release from the athletic department.
With a lot of issues on the recruiting trail in the past few years, Holtmann will have to hit the ground running in the upcoming July evaluation period to right this ship quickly.
An introductory press conference will take place on Monday morning at 11.a.m. ET at center court at Value City Arena.