Chris Holtmann to leave Butler, take job at Ohio State

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PROVIDENCE, RI - JANUARY 19: Head coach Chris Holtmann of the Butler Bulldogs reacts against the Providence Friars in the first half on January 19, 2016, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Butler’s Chris Holtmann has decided to leave Indy to take a job with Ohio State University.

Holtmann and Butler University confirmed the news late Friday morning.

Previously, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, citing sources, said Holtmann agreed to an eight-year deal, a report echoed by David Woods with our media partners at the IndyStar.

Holtmann had reportedly emerged as the front-runner for the job after Thad Matta was fired this week, creating a vacancy for the Buckeyes. Matta, who played college basketball and coached at Butler, had spent 13 seasons in Columbus.

Holtmann has been a hot coaching prospect, having been previously linked to openings at North Carolina State, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. In each of those cases, he decided to stay at Butler.

Holtmann had a 70-31 record in three seasons with the Bulldogs and was named coach of the year in the Big East after last season, when he steered Butler to a 25-9 record and the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2011.

He signed an extension in April that was meant to keep him at Butler through 2024-2025.

Holtmann issued a statement via Twitter:

Other rumored candidates for the Ohio State job included Creighton’s Greg McDermott and Xavier’s Chris Mack.

Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier issued this statement:

“Chris is a tremendous basketball coach, but more importantly, he is a great man who has led our program well and embodied The Butler Way during his time with us. On behalf of everyone at Butler, we wish him, Lori, and Nora continued success as they make this transition. Our basketball program is among the nation’s best and Butler University is committed to maintaining our competitive success on a national level, while also recruiting young men who will represent our institution well in the classroom and in the community. We will work efficiently to identify our next head coach.”