Butler University head coach Chris Holtmann has been hired as the new coach of the Ohio State University basketball team. This comes after the recent firing of long-time head coach Thad Matta, who was struggling with foot issues and missed the NCAA Tournament two years in a row to end his career with the university. Holtmann has reportedly agreed to a massive eight year, $24 million contract, which will immediately put pressure on the new coach to succeed. Candidates to replace Holtmann at Butler include current assistants Ryan Pedon and Terry Johnson, as well as Milwaukee head coach LaVall Jordan and Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey.
Holtmann definitely has the pedigree to warrant this, reaching the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons with the Butler squad in an admittedly weaker-than-historically speaking Big East Conference. Last year, he got the team to the Sweet 16 before losing to eventual tournament champions, University of North Carolina. However, he is going to face some challenges, such as moving from a university whose biggest focus is college basketball to one whose focus is on the football program. As a result, Ohio State has struggled in the past couple of years in recruiting top-level talent. Ohio State higher-ups hope Holtmann can use his knowledge of Midwest recruitment to get this team back on the map. Ohio State is also depending on Holtmann’s strengths in player development, as he managed to make Butler successful without signing a player who was rated five stars coming out of high school. Right now, Ohio State only has one top-100 recruit in the incoming class, so Holtmann will be asked to work magic.
Ohio State fans are hopeful that Holtmann can handle the pressure. He already went through several traumatic experiences, including the death of two players, as well as the eight-month-old son of one of his assistants.