Ohio State hires Butler’s Chris Holtmann as new hoops coach

The Ohio State Buckeyes announced Friday morning that they have hired Chris Holtmann as their new head basketball coach. Holtmann has agreed to an eight-year deal worth about $3 million annually, according to athletic director Gene Smith.

“Chris is focused on academics, is a high-integrity person, a relentless recruiter with Midwestern ties and a proven winner,” Smith said in a statement.

Holtmann, 45, went 70-31 over the past three seasons at Butler and reached the NCAA tournament each year. The Bulldogs finished 25-9 this past season and lost to eventual national champion North Carolina in the Sweet 16. Prior to coaching at Butler, Holtmann went 44-54 in three seasons with Gardner-Webb.

The Buckeyes surprisingly parted ways with coach Thad Matta on Monday after 13 years, resulting in an unusual coaching search in June. On Thursday, Creighton coach Greg McDermott – considered the front-runner at that point – announced he was staying put.

Ohio State finished the 2016-17 season with a 17-15 record and missed the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.