When your college basketball season ends in a historic, 2 vs 15 loss to a school with fewer than 3,500 students, it’s easy to let your mind wander to all of the “what if’s.” What if Duane had knocked down that triple at the top of they key in overtime? What if Ohio State had hit their free throws at even their average rate? What if Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas had gone to big-name schools that they are obviously capable of playing at, rather than Oral Roberts?
And most importantly, what if Chris Holtmann had worn his undefeated, crisp-as-hell salmon suit? Matter of fact, what happened to the famous, light pink suit that the fans, players, and his wife love so much? After wearing those top-notch threads for one game during each of the past two seasons, we didn’t see it at all last year. Why?
The numbers don’t lie. The salmon suit is 2-0 thus far, aiding the Buckeyes in victories over Cleveland State in November 2018 and Nebraska in that God-forsaken month of January last year. The former victory was held in historic St. John Arena and the latter helped Ohio State snap a four-game losing streak.
But this past season, Holtmann never broke it out. The Buckeyes didn’t play in St. John Arena last season, so he couldn’t wear it during the throwback game like he did in 2018. But the Buckeyes did go through another four-game losing streak this past season from late February to early March. Could the famous salmon suit have helped break the streak before it got that far? The science indicates that it would have.
So, with the data firmly pointing towards the salmon suit being a major game-changer — and the entire fanbase constantly questioning its whereabouts — we take a stab at why Holtmann decided to leave it in the closet this past season. Get out your tinfoil hats, folks, because we’re really digging deep into this one.
The jacket actually belonged to Andre Wesson, he was simply loaning it to Holtmann
Holtmann originally busted out the salmon suit for Ohio State’s “throwback” game against Cleveland State at St. John Arena on Nov. 23, 2018. Ohio State won 89-62, and the Wesson brothers combined for 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting.
The brothers were the players’ representatives at the postgame press conference, and one of the first questions was about Holtmann’s outfit:
Kaleb and Andre Wesson said they were both fans of their coach’s jacket.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 24, 2018
Kaleb: “It was hot. I don’t know why everyone was saying it was ugly.”
Andre: “It had a little drip to it.” https://t.co/dMjEEKUyNY
Both of the Wesson brothers were very fond of their coach’s suit, to a point that made you wonder if they wanted one for themselves. Unless — hear me out — the jacket already belonged to one of the Wesson brothers? Now, one Wesson brother is noticeably larger than the other. Even a slimmed-down, 252-pound Kaleb wears a jacket that would look like a tunic on the Buckeyes’ head coach.
But Andre .... now there’s an idea. The younger Wesson is 6-foot-6, but perhaps the jacket was from his high school prom, when he was a bit shorter and slimmer? Additionally, Holtmann wore the jacket two times, both with the Wessons on the team. As you know, neither brother was on the team this past season, nor was the salmon suit. Coincidence? I think not.
Andre, please do the Lord’s work and donate your salmon suit to the Ohio State basketball program. You’re an alum now, dropping the bag for your head coach isn’t just allowed, it is encouraged.
Chris Holtmann loves the attention and saw no reason to wear it without fans in attendance
During his four years as Ohio State’s head coach, Holtmann has been quick to credit others for victories and reluctant to accept much praise for himself. When the Buckeyes pull out an unlikely road win over a ranked opponent, he claims to be, “So lucky to have some of these seniors,” or, “Blessed with an unbelievably talented coaching staff that makes my job so much easier.”
Holtmann has made some bold decisions over the past few years, and many of them have paid off. He deserves credit for these moves, but he’s never been one to easily accept that credit.
When the Buckeyes played Purdue on the road in February 2018, Kaleb Wesson had some trouble guarding 7-foot-2 Isaac Haas in the paint. The Boilermakers’ big man tallied 16 points over the first 20 minutes, prompting Holtmann to switch it up and throw the 6-foot-6 elder Wesson onto Haas in the second half. Andre somehow held Haas to just two points in the second half, and the Buckeyes held on to win 64-63.
This past season, Holtmann plugged Justin Ahrens into the starting lineup for a short time, prompting an offensive outburst from the southpaw sniper that few people other than us saw coming. While limited in other areas of the game, Ahrens provided a spark at the beginning of those games that helped Ohio State assume the role of aggressor, rather than starting out in a hole.
What if Holtmann secretly loves the attention that comes from these bold decisions, but is too afraid to admit it? Perhaps Holtmann decided that if 17,000 adoring fans weren’t filling the Schott, that there was no point in wasting his best (and boldest) outfit? Maybe the man with nearly 50,000 Twitter followers decided that the players’ parents and his own family weren’t a big enough crowd to truly appreciate the salmon suit?
Perhaps, contrary to the evidence, Holtmann craves the spotlight and simply will not wear the salmon suit if a large crowd isn’t on hand to witness it. Certainly something to think about!
Ryan Day sent Holtmann a cease and desist letter, wants to have a monopoly on pink and red suit jackets
After Holtmann wore his salmon suit against Cleveland State in November 2018, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day countered with a plaid, scarlet suit jacket on August 31, 2019 when the Buckeyes took on Florida Atlantic in the Horseshoe.
While the two jackets were unique, the Ohio State vibe was very apparent in both and obviously intentional. Both jackets — perhaps not so coincidentally — also led to Buckeye victories.
In an attempt to assert his dominance over Day, and to secure the title of campus’ best dressed coach, Holtmann whipped the salmon jacket back out in January 2020 for their victory over Nebraska. Since then? Nothing. No salmon suit on the floor, despite repeated demands from the fanbase.
Is Holtmann choosing not to wear it, or did Day see Holtmann’s suit as a threat? Did the two-time Big Ten football champ pull some strings within the athletic department and make it clear to Holtmann that only Ryan Day is allowed to wear flashy suits? Did the powers that be inform Holtmann that he need to take a step back and just wear the traditional, mundane gray and black? Day has two more conference championships than Holtmann does, and in half the time, and boasts a salary that is over double what Holtmann pulls in per year.
Did Day flex his bureaucratic muscles within the Ohio State athletic department and silence Holtmann’s ambitious fashion sense? I’m not saying that he did, but I’m not saying that he didn’t either.