Ohio State fires men's basketball coach Holtmann

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fired seventh-year basketball coach Chris Holtmann on Wednesday with the Buckeyes mired in yet another subpar season.

Associate head coach Jake Diebler will run the program for the rest of the season and a search for a new head coach will commence then, the school said in a statement.

Ohio State is 14-11, 4-10 in the Big Ten, and has lost nine of the last 11. In 2022-23, the Buckeyes suffered their first losing season in nearly two decades, finishing 16-19 and 5-15 in the Big Ten.

Ohio State’s 62-54 setback at Wisconsin on Tuesday marked its 16th straight road loss, tying a school record. The last road win for the Buckeyes came on Jan. 1, 2023.

The 52-year-old Holtmann was seen as a coach on the rise when Ohio State hired him away from Butler in 2017 to replace Thad Matta, who had brought success to Columbus but agreed to step down, partly due to health problems.

Holtmann compiled a 137-86 record in seven years at Ohio State but the last few seasons have been disappointing as he tried to negotiate a new college basketball culture heavy on transfer portal and NIL issues.

The Buckeyes went to the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and 2022 but couldn’t make it out of the first weekend either time.

None of Holtmann’s Ohio State teams won a regular season title or conference tournament.

“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 2022, Ohio State gave Holtmann a three-year contract extension that pushed his salary to about $3.5 million per season. He will be owed the $12.8 million remaining on his contract.