Now mostly settled in as the Ohio State men’s basketball coach, Chris Holtmann is trying to preach more than just basketball during his first full offseason with the program.
At an interview session last week, Holtmann told reporters that he has started a summer program to reinforce core values within the basketball program and also address important issues with his players. Called “Beyond Basketball,” it is modeled on a similar program put together by football coach Urban Meyer for his team.
“We’re using the offseason for us to talk about some of those things, program values, we’re going to talk about we want to bring people in front of our players in the community that will be inspirational for them whether it’s a business leader, community leader, CEO,” he said. “It’s a combination of us trying to understand who we are as a program and yet also we want our guys to be put in front of people that will be inspiring for them beyond just their time here at Ohio State.”
Tuesday night, in concert with the football team, that included guest speaker Brenda Tracy, who survived a 1998 gang rape by four football players. Tracy has founded a website called settheexpectation.org, whose mission statement reads, “We are dedicated to combatting sexual and physical violence by supporting coaches, young men and boys to become part of the solution through direct outreach and engagement in high school and collegiate athletic programs.”
On Twitter, Tracy said the presentation had been scheduled well in advance of this week's news of a history of domestic assault accusations against Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired Tuesday. Tracy also said on Twitter that she has never met or spoken with Meyer and that the meeting was "about the players at Ohio State. Not Urban Meyer."
Once the program, which took place in the football team’s meeting room, concluded, multiple players took to Twitter to share their experiences.
Tracy thanked the basketball program for the opportunity with a photo that shows all 14 members of the team along with Holtmann and director of player development Scoonie Penn.
Thank you for bringing me in @ChrisHoltmann! Looking forward to working with @OhioStateHoops this coming season!! #SetTheExpectation pic.twitter.com/PBLvRZEQfn— Brenda Tracy (@brendatracy24) July 25, 2018
Holtmann quoted one of Tracy's post-speech tweets with one of his own.
Thank you for sharing your story. Powerful. https://t.co/HGwOtnsAPz— Chris Holtmann (@ChrisHoltmann) July 25, 2018
Assistant coach Ryan Pedon tweeted about the event.
Powerful program for our teams tonight - thank you for sharing @brendatracy24#SetTheExpectation https://t.co/NeLO4hYAUa— Ryan Pedon (@ryanpedon) July 25, 2018
Multiple players posted messages to Twitter, too. Here's senior Joey Lane:
Thank you @brendatracy24 for coming in and speaking with @OhioStateHoops and @OhioStateFB!
We will #SetTheExpectation!
And freshmen Duane Washington Jr., Justin Ahrens and Luther Muhammad, the latter of whom took a photo with Tracy.
#SetTheExpectation https://t.co/RKzskKsh8a— Duane “Wiz” Washington Jr. (@TheDuaneWash) July 25, 2018
#SetTheExpectation thank you for sharing your story https://t.co/LYNG6FyI5z— Justin Ahrens (@ahrensjustin12) July 25, 2018
Thank you for talking to OSU basketball and football team, you are a very strong women for sharing your story with us, and continue to be that strong women you are @brendatracy24 #settheexpectation pic.twitter.com/wjreAblWbJ— GoBuckLu (@LutherMuhammad) July 25, 2018
Strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks also attended the event.
It was a powerful evening in #BeyondHoops with @brendatracy24 sharing her story with @OhioStateHoops #120 and @OhioStateFB thanks @ChrisHoltmann for continuing to bring in next level presenters. #SetTheExpectation pic.twitter.com/GqYQFj62Cx— Quadrian Banks (@Truth_Q) July 25, 2018