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Butler Bulldogs Lose Chris Holtmann to Ohio State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs will say goodbye to head coach Chris Holtmann. The 45 year-old Holtmann agreed Friday to leave Butler and become the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. The agreement is an eight-year, $24 million deal. $3.1 million a year, according to a source.

Butler seemed to put any rumors of Holtmann leaving to bed with a contract extension on April 28th. Holtmann agreed to an extension that would keep Holtmann at Butler until the 2024-2025 season and was reportedly worth $1.2 million a year. But with Thad Matta announcing his departure from Ohio State on Monday, Holtmann quickly became a rumored name on the list of next potential coaches. The odds increased once Creighton coach Doug McDermott turned down the job offer on Thursday after a visit Wednesday night.

“Chris is a tremendous basketball coach, but more importantly, he is a great man who has led our program well and embodied The Butler Way during his time with us,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “On behalf of everyone at Butler, we wish him, Lori, and Nora continued success as they make this transition. Our basketball program is among the nation’s best and Butler University is committed to maintaining our competitive success on a national level, while also recruiting young men who will represent our institution well in the classroom and in the community. We will work efficiently to identify our next head coach.”

Butler will need to move quickly on a new coach as the July recruiting period is right around the corner. Butler has shown a history of hiring from within as four of the past five coaches (Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter, Brad Stevens, Chris Holtmann) were assistants before they were named to the top gig. With that history in mind, here are a few names to consider at head coach.

1. LaVall Jordan (Current Milwaukee coach and former Butler assistant coach)
2. Terry Johnson (Current Butler assistant coach since 2007)
3. Micah Shrewsberry (Current Boston Celtics assistant coach and former Butler assistant coach. Has been with Brad Stevens in Boston since 2013)
4. Travis Steele (Current Xavier assistant coach and Butler alum)
5. Michael Lewis (Current Nebraska assistant and former Butler assistant coach from 2011-2016)
6. Matthew Graves (Current South Alabama coach and former Butler player)

I believe Micah Shrewsberry and LaVall Jordan to be the top names for the spot with Terry Johnson right behind the two. While Thad Matta would make for an interesting twist, his current health conditions and struggles will most likely hinder any return to the sidelines for some time.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann

The Bulldogs will also hope to keep top assistant coaches Mike Schrage and Ryan Pedon together on the Hinkle Fieldhouse court. Both men could also get a chance to interview for the top spot.

The loss of Holtmann and potential others could spell disaster for a promising roster and the upcoming season as the Bulldogs are set to welcome the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history.


Holtmann tweeted out the following photo below to the Butler community. (@ChrisHoltmann)

Holtmann Tweet

Holtmann is the 2016-17 recipient of the John McLendon Award, presented annually by to college basketball’s coach of the year. Additionally, for the second time in his three seasons at Butler, Holtmann was named a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award

Holtmann was named Butler’s 23rd men’s basketball head coach in January of 2015, after serving for three months as interim head coach. He guided the 2014-15 Bulldogs to a 23-11 record, and followed that with a 22-11 mark in his second season. Including three seasons as the head coach at Gardner-Webb, Holtmann has 114 career wins.

Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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