On Thursday night, a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN stated that Holtmann had emerged as the frontrunner to fill the vacancy left by Thad Matta on Monday, a job that Matta had held since 2004. The Buckeyes reportedly offered the position to Creighton Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott, but McDermott announced he was staying in Omaha on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday morning, Goodman tweeted that the deal was done.
Ohio State has agreed to deal with Butler’s Chris Holtmann, sources told ESPN. It’s an 8-year deal. News conference not expected today.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 9, 2017
Holtmann leaves Butler after three successful seasons with the team. He helped lead the ‘Dawgs to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, racking up at least one victory each year. That included a trip to the Sweet 16 this past season, where the Bulldogs ultimately fell to the would-be National Champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels.
He finished with a record of 70-31 in three seasons with a 34-20 record in conference play. The Bulldogs finished no worse than fourth under Holtmann in the Big East, including two second-place finishes in 2014-15 and 2016-17.
As it pertains to the OSU job, Chris Holtmann certainly had no tentativeness in recruiting the state of Ohio. In his 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes, Holtmann plucked at least one player from the state. That includes three-star Nate Fowler of Cincinnati, three-star Henry Baddley of Akron and four-star Kyle Young of Massillon. Young had picked the Bulldogs over the Buckeyes to give BU the edge in that recruiting battle, so needless to say, Holtmann certainly knows how to flex his muscles and make his presence felt in that state, which would certainly make OSU fans feel a bit comforted.
As it relates to Butler and where the program goes, it is in an interesting spot. Ohio State certainly put themselves in a bind, opening up a vacancy for what is a rebuilding job in June. Now, with them filling their vacancy, it’s now the Bulldogs who are in a quandary. Holtmann’s name had come up for a few vacancies in his time with Butler, namely Tennessee and NC State recently. He of course did not depart for those jobs, but now BU must go on the hunt again for a head coach.
Butler’s profile has almost certainly been increased over the last decade or so. They’ve bumped up from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 to the Big East, with multiple NCAA Tournament appearances sprinkled in with their memorable runs to the National Championship Games in 2010 and 2011. Given that they have shown they can hang with the ‘big boys’ (on the court and in recruiting - BU’s class ranked 34th in 2017) the job certainly has its pleasantries.
Who they will be able to wrangle in is anyone’s guess, but with the July live period approaching, they will have to move swiftly to fill the void.
Best of luck to Chris Holtman at his new job in Columbus.