Ohio State men's basketball: Gene Smith raves about Chris Holtmann in performance evaluation

Adam Jardy
Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann [Samantha Madar]

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith described men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann as having “made the most amazing transition into OSU on all levels,” according to a copy of Holtmann's official performance evaluation released to The Dispatch.

Overall, Smith concluded, Holtmann exceeded expectations for the 2017-18 season.

As a first-year coach at Ohio State, Holtmann led the Buckeyes to a 25-9 record, a second-place finish in the Big Ten and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He also coached the league’s player of the year in Keita Bates-Diop, helping him to be selected in the second round of the NBA draft.

His work behind the scenes, though, caught Smith’s eye, according to the evaluation.

“Integrating into the Buckeye culture of the department,” Smith wrote as part of Holtmann’s highlights. “Interacting with fans and supporters of the program was excellent! Embracing former players and building the trust of the players he had to lead represented (exemplar) performance. Creating a culture of competing at the highest level in the class and or the court!”

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In the self-appraisal portion, Holtmann described his key job responsibilities as being split into three duties, with the following demands on his time: “organize and lead day to day MBB program” (50 percent), “Recruit 3 classes at 1 time” (30 percent) and “Manage and lead the MBB staff” (20 percent). He rated his performance for the first job as between exceeding and meeting expectations, his performance at the second as meeting expectations and his performance in the final category as having an opportunity for improvement.

Holtmann’s self-appraised highlights of the season list an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, a 15-3 Big Ten season and a 9-0 start to league play. A portion of his answer has been redacted.

“Transition to a new team, job, environment is always a challenge,” he wrote of the challenges he faced last year, and he will improve himself and the program by “Need to manage staff better, implement our system and culture better with such a new team.”

For the 2018-19 season, Holtmann laid out four goals and performance measures. They are listed in the following order:

1. Add a top 25 recruiting class to the 2018 class. Add Buckeyes who fit us.

2. Win half of the signature non-conference games we have. The following four games are listed: at Cincinnati, at Creighton, Syracuse and UCLA.

3. Finish top half of the Big Ten.

4. Play in the postseason.

Those first two goals have already been achieved. Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class is ranked No. 10 nationally and tops in the Big Ten according to the composite rankings, and the Buckeyes won at Cincinnati and Creighton with the UCLA game to take place Saturday inside Chicago’s United Center.

Smith evaluated Holtmann in eight core competencies. His performance exceeded expectations in competitive success of program, commitment to compliance, student-athlete welfare and public relations/donor relations. Holtmann met expectations in academic success of program, leadership, communication and budget management.

“Continue to grow within the University,” Smith wrote of Holtmann’s key areas or priorities for growth for the upcoming year. “Invite some peers and faculty leaders to practice or lunches at the Schott. Continue to focus on former S/A! to strengthen the connection. Always have student engagement strategies.”


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