Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann to obtain a three-year contract extension

Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann is among five Buckeyes head coaches set to receive contract extensions this week. The Scarlet and Gray Board of Trustees met on Wednesday to discuss “Talent, Compensation and Governance Committee” and are expected to approve these five new deals with a vote on Thursday. The other four coaches approved by the Board of Trustees to receive extensions are head football coach Ryan Day, women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff, men’s lacrosse coach Nick Myers and men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik.

Holtmann, who took over the Ohio State men’s basketball program from Thad Matta in June of 2017, will receive a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the Buckeyes through the 2027-28 college basketball season. With the new deal, Holtmann will receive a raise of $500,000, which increases his compensation to $3.5 million with a base salary of $1 million per year.

In his five seasons with the Scarlet and Gray, Holtmann has won at least 20 games each year and made the NCAA Tournament all four seasons it was held — there was no NCAA Tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — making it to the second round of March Madness in three of the four appearances.

Overall, Holtmann has a 107-56 record at Ohio State. Holtmann has guided the Buckeyes to a top-half finish in the Big Ten standings in all but one of his five seasons in Columbus, including a surprising second-place finish in the conference in his first season of 2017-18.

Holtmann was named the successor to Matta on June 9, 2017, becoming the 14th men’s basketball coach in Scarlet and Gray history. After missing the NCAA Tournament in each of the two prior seasons, Ohio State was one of the shocking teams in college basketball that year, going from unranked to as high as No. 8 in the AP Poll. The Buckeyes finished the regular season with a 24-7 record and beat South Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out of the Big Dance in a six-point loss to Gonzaga.

The Scarlet and Gray again got off to a fast start in 2018-19, beginning the year 12-1. A rough start to the New Year, where Ohio State lost six of seven games in conference play, altered the season, with the Buckeyes finishing 18-13. The Scarlet and Gray defeated Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament before losing to Michigan State. In March Madness, the Buckeyes upset Iowa State in the first round before falling to Houston in the second round.

Ohio State started Holtmann’s third season in charge with an 11-1 record, which included wins at No. 7 North Carolina and on a neutral court against No. 6 Kentucky. The Buckeyes again struggled around the turn of the calendar year, dropping six of seven games before winning nine of 12 to close the year at 21-10. Both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments were canceled that season due to the pandemic.

The Scarlet and Gray put together another impressive year in 2020-21. Despite playing with few to no fans in the arenas, Ohio State was 8-2 entering January and then won six of eight games in a month where Holtmann’s teams had previously struggled. This included a seven-game winning streak into late February that saw the Buckeyes climb as high as No. 4 in the AP Poll. The Scarlet and Gray made a run to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, losing to Illinois in overtime. Ohio State was then upset in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Oral Roberts, the most disappointing loss of Holtmann’s tenure.

Last season, the Buckeyes entered the year with expectations, coming in ranked No. 17 in the preseason AP Poll. The Scarlet and Gray got off to a 7-2 start that included upsetting No. 1 Duke. But a COVID outbreak within the program led to a 22-day pause of the season and to inconsistent play in January. With four games remaining in the year, Ohio State had a shot at a share of the Big Ten regular season title but lost three of those games before being knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament by Penn State in the first round. The Buckeyes did handle business against Loyola Chicago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but then lost to Villanova in the following round.

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Holtmann has the sixth-ranked recruiting class in the country, per the 247Sports Composite, coming to Columbus this summer. This 2022 class includes four players ranked inside the top 60 nationally.

The contract extension for Holtmann and the subsequent raise will put him on par with other top head coaches in the Big Ten. Holtmann’s new $3.5 million salary is similar to that of Michigan’s Juwan Howard and Illinois’ Brad Underwoodtrailing only Michigan State’s Tom Izzo in the conference.

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