Ohio State to sign coach Chris Holtmann to multi-year contract extension

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

Five years into his original contract, Ohio State will sign men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann to a multi-year contract extension.

After three seasons at Butler, where he amassed a record of 70-31 and reached the NCAA Tournament each year, Holtmann signed an eight-year contract at Ohio State paying him $3 million annually. After four seasons, the buyout in the contract dropped significantly, and since then Holtmann has been a hot name among high-major schools looking to hire new coaches due to his overall success and attractive fiscal situation.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, left, shakes hands with Chris Holtmann after naming Holtmann the new basketball coach on June 12, 2017.

The Dispatch has learned this new extension will add three years to his existing contract, putting him under contract through 2028, and will include both a raise and a higher buyout. Holtmann will be making roughly $3.5 million in each of the six years now on his contract. Specifics of every Big Ten contract are not publicly known, but Holtmann is now believed to be the eighth-highest-paid coach in the conference.

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What Chris Holtmann has done for Ohio State basketball

In five seasons, Holtmann has a record of 107-56 (.656) and has gone 58-42 (.580) in Big Ten play. He reached 100 wins at Ohio State with a Jan. 27 win at Minnesota, becoming the third-fastest coach in program history to reach that total behind Thad Matta and Fred Taylor.

In five seasons at Ohio State, Chris Holtmann has a record of 107-56.

Holtmann succeeded Matta, Ohio State’s all-time winningest coach, when he was hired in June 2017, after a weeklong search. He inherited a roster with six returning players and, behind a fully healthy Big Ten player of the year in Keita Bates-Diop, led Ohio State to a 25-9 record and within a game of a Big Ten title. He was named Big Ten coach of the year, marking the third time he had won the award in three different leagues, and helped the Buckeyes return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence. In 2021, the Buckeyes reached the championship game of the Big Ten tournament before falling to Illinois in overtime.

Ohio State has won at least 20 games in all five seasons under Holtmann and has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in all four seasons during which it has been played. It is one of three Big Ten teams to have been projected to play in March Madness for all five seasons, joining Michigan and Michigan State.

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The trips to the postseason have not resulted in deep runs, however. In 2018, 2019 and 2022, the Buckeyes won opening-round games but fell in the second round. In 2021, No. 15 seed Oral Roberts upset No. 2 seed Ohio State in the first round.

In five seasons at Ohio State, Chris Holtmann has a record of 107-56.

Chris Holtmann has sent several Ohio State players to NBA

Under Holtmann, three players have reached the NBA, with two more on their way. Bates-Diop was the No. 48 pick in the 2018 draft, while Jae’Sean Tate and Duane Washington Jr. both went undrafted but have since played their way onto NBA rosters. Tate signed with Houston as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and was named to the NBA’s all-rookie team after playing professionally overseas while Washington signed a two-way contract with Indiana that was converted to a full deal by the end of the 2021-22 season.

In five seasons at Ohio State, Chris Holtmann has a record of 107-56.

This summer, E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham will almost certainly both be taken during the first round of the draft. Branham is Holtmann’s first one-and-done player and Ohio State’s first since D’Angelo Russell in 2016.

Chris Holtmann (left) and Ryan Day are set to receive contract extensions.

Ohio State will enroll three transfers and a five-man freshman recruiting class ranked No. 6 nationally and tops in the Big Ten according to the 247Sports.com rankings. The Buckeyes have two verbal commitments from top-100 prospects in the 2023 class that is ranked No. 5 nationally.

Holtmann is one of five Ohio State coaches to receive new contracts, joining Ryan Day (football), Kevin McGuff (women's basketball), Nick Myers (men's lacrosse) and Steve Rohlik (men's hockey).

Ohio State's full board of trustees will vote Thursday on all five personnel actions.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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