There was plenty to catch up with Chris Holtmann about regarding the Ohio State men’s basketball team Wednesday morning.
At a press conference to further wrap up his second season at Ohio State and start looking ahead to his third, Holtmann had pressing questions regarding his search to fill out his coaching staff, how he might address some roster holes and what the coming months could look like for the Buckeyes, who are widely expected to make a significant leap in the national picture.
As he opened the press conference, though, Holtmann didn’t address the assembled media as just a coach, or a mentor, or some other combination of hats that the job requires. He did so as a father, and one whose daughter, Nora, had just lost someone important to her and to her school.
“The first thing I wanted to mention was a little bit sad,” he began. “Many of us are parents in here and many of you guys have probably moved for a job, and when you move for a job and you have kids one of the first things you think about is, ‘How are my son or daughter going to adjust to a new place? In particular, how are they going to adjust to a new school?’
The Holtmann family moved from Indianapolis to Columbus in June of 2017 after coach Thad Matta was fired during an unusual time of the basketball calendar. It came with a little trepidation from his daughter, who would have to start over with new friends in a new school.
“My seven-year-old, she can get a little bit nervous at times,” Holtmann said. “Two years ago when we moved here, she loved the school that she was a part of at Butler in Indianapolis. When she moved here, she was obviously really nervous. The school that she was a part of, the principal there was just unbelievable.
“His name is Chris Collaros. Chris passed away on Saturday.”
>>VIDEO: Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann expresses his sympathy over the loss of principal Chris Collaros
Then the emotion hit. Holtmann paused for six seconds to try and collect himself.
“I didn’t, you know…”
He trailed off. After eight seconds, Holtmann cleared his throat but couldn’t continue. That was followed by a pregnant, 16-second pause until he again cleared his throat in a vain effort to get his voice back.
“So obviously, I didn’t know Chris well…”
Now, a 21-second pause as Holtmann stared at a notepad he had brought with him, an atypical development. Then, he apologized and collected himself for nine more seconds.
“But I think anybody who takes care of your kids means a lot to you,” he said. “He was tremendous in the Wickliffe community and our deepest condolences to his family.”
Collaros, who had been the principal at Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School in Upper Arlington since 2008, was 57.
You can read his obituary here.