With three seasons remaining on his original eight-year contract that he signed in the summer of 2017, Ohio State announced a three-year contract extension with men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann today. The agreement is pending the final Board of Trustees approval.
Holtmann, 50, was hired in 2017 after longtime head coach Thad Matta resigned. After going 70-31 in three seasons at Butler including three NCAA Tournament appearances, Holtmann has amassed a record of 107-56 (.656) during his five seasons in Columbus. His Buckeye teams have made the NCAA Tournament every season save for the COVID-19-cancelled season, and have finished in the top-five in the Big Ten in three of his five years.
Holtmann’s original contract was an eight-year, $26 million dollar agreement. At $3.2 million per year, this placed Holtmann just outside the top-25 highest paid coaches in the country based on yearly salary, behind coaches such as Northwestern’s Chris Collins ($3.26 million), USC’s Andy Enfield ($3.35 million), and Nebraska’s Fred Hoiberg ($3.5 million).
The new deal will increase his yearly salary to $3.5 million over the final six years of his contract, which also means Holtmann’s original contract will extend from eight to 11 years.
Last season the Buckeyes finished with a 20-12 record, the ninth-straight season that Holtmann has led his team to 20 or more wins. Ohio State finished with a 12-8 record in the B1G, and were assigned a 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament. After knocking off a very popular upset pick in Loyola-Chicago, the Buckeyes fell to Villanova in the second round, 71-61. Jay Wright’s Wildcats would eventually advance all the way to the Final Four before losing to Kansas.
Last summer during an appearance on our Bucketheads podcast, Holtmann told Land-Grant Holy Land that he interviewed for and was offered more than one position in 2017, but that the thought of living in Columbus gave Ohio State an edge. He told us:
“Well as you guys know, it’s a great city. It really is a great city. Indianapolis was a great city (too). And you know, full disclosure, my last year (at Butler) I was offered a couple jobs before this one that we’re in some great conferences — high level conferences, really good programs, too. But you know, when you’re raising a young child and you’ve moved your wife and family a few times, location matters. It doesn’t matter more than the quality of the job and the ability to win and win consistently...but it matters.
For me, the idea of being in Columbus was really attractive, and I don’t think I really understood at the time how great the city was — the entertainment, professional teams, the restaurants are great, the schools are tremendous for my daughter. So we’ve really enjoyed it. My wife and daughter have really enjoyed our time here.
And the community has been outstanding. I can’t tell you how many times — I was just out to lunch today and a guy and his young son came up and said really kind things (to me). Lord knows I get beat up enough during the season, so it’s nice when that happens, and it really does happen a lot face to face, and I really do appreciate that from the community.”
Holtmann and athletic director Gene Smith are certainly hoping that extending him before his contract is up will prove beneficial in recruiting. With three seasons remaining on his old deal, there was no guarantee for recruits in the 2023 cycle and beyond that Holtmann would be their coach for their entire collegiate careers. And with Ohio State’s recent classes ranking among the best in the country, the hope is that retaining Holtmann will assure that top talent continues to find its way to Columbus.
Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class, which includes five players, ranked No. 6 in the nation according to 247Sports. The 2023 recruiting class — although still early — is currently No. 5 in the country and will be adding at least one more player.