Chris Holtmann fired as Ohio State MBB coach after almost seven seasons

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, right, yells to his his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 70-57. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann was fired on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Chris Holtmann received his pink slip from Ohio State on Wednesday afternoon.

The former men's basketball coach was fired by the Buckeyes after the team dropped to 14-11 (4-10 Big Ten) and its ninth loss in the last 11 games. He leaves with four more years remaining on his contract, and is owed more than $14 million in guaranteed salary, according to ESPN.

Associate head coach Jake Diebler will take over as the Buckeyes' interim head coach for the duration of the season, Ohio State announced.

"I want to express my appreciation toward Chris for the first-class program, and the well-respected program, he has run here at Ohio State," Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith said in a statement. "He and his wife, Lori, are wonderful people. I thank each of them for their seven years here in Columbus and I wish them well."

Under Holtmann, road games and the month of January have been anything but kind to the Buckeyes. Ohio State is still searching for its first road win since Jan. 1, 2023, and in the first month of the year, Holtmann's Buckeyes were 18-29 since 2018.

Ohio State hired Holtmann to replace Thad Matta in 2017. Similar to his time at Butler, Holtmann coached the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament in his debut and sophomore year at the helm of the team. Ohio State was 25-9 (15-3) in his first year, and Holtmann led the team to a No. 2 seed in 2021.

The Buckeyes returned to March Madness is 2022, before missing the tournament with a 16-19 finish last season.

Ohio State's next men's basketball coach will be selected by incoming athletic director Ross Bjork, who will begin working in the athletic department as a senior adviser to Smith on March 1. Bjork will officially take over in July.