Chris Holtmann is Embracing Ohio State's Football Program as a Strength, Learning From Urban Meyer

By James Grega on September 13, 2017 at 10:10 am
Chris Holtmann

For some college basketball coaches, playing second fiddle to football at a school like Ohio State could be a turnoff. Chris Holtmann is of a different mindset. 

After being hired as the Buckeyes' head basketball coach on June 9, Holtmann acknowledged the fact that Ohio State is without question a football school, something he added did not bother him. 

"I love it. Love it. I think it’s great," Holtmann said during his introductory press conference. "I think it adds to this place. I think it was exciting to me, to be quite honest with you."

Having been in Columbus for more than three months now, Holtmann is utilizing some of the best resources Ohio State has to offer. One of those resources? The head football coach. 

"(Urban Meyer) has shared some great information and insight into what makes this place special and what makes a kid choose Ohio State."– Chris Holtmann on what he has learned from Urban Meyer.

Since he was hired, Holtmann has had a chance to pick Urban Meyer's brain. He said that one of the biggest takeaways from his meetings with Meyer has been the football coach's passion for Ohio State. 

"He has met with a few (basketball) recruits and you get to see him sell this place," Holtmann said at halftime of Ohio State's football game against Oklahoma. "I have enjoyed taking a step back and listen to him communicate how and why this place is so special. I think that can be really helpful.

"He has shared some great information and insight into what makes this place special and what makes a kid choose Ohio State."

While the football team lost to Oklahoma on Sept. 9, Holtmann hosted a number of high-profile recruits during the weekend, including point guard Elijah Weaver, the No. 35 overall player in the class of 2018 according to 247Sports.

The recruits in attendance were also likely introduced to Ohio State greats Evan Turner and Mike Conley, who were both recognized in between timeouts of the football game, along with Holtmann. 

Holtmann said when he was hired, he tried to generate a relationship between Ohio State basketball alumni and current players and recruits. He said the former Buckeyes were so receptive, he was able to let the connection happen more organically. 

"One of the things that has been most impressive to me in my short time here is the connection between current and former (players)," Holtmann said. "We tried to foster that, but I have been able to take a step back. (The alumni) are around a lot. They can talk to recruits now on campus. It has been a really cool connection."

With the former hoops players on the sideline for the football game, Holtmann called the game day atmosphere for the Oklahoma matchup "incredible" and raved about the scene that unfolded in Columbus for the primetime showdown. 

"Nothing like it. It is an incredible environment. It's electric," Holtmann said.

The football program isn't only impacting Holtmann's recruiting, but also how the first-year Buckeye head coach will approach his postgame routine. Holtmann said he is requiring his players to learn the Ohio State fight song and alma mater, which he said the Buckeyes will sing after every game, much like the football team has done for nearly 20 years. 

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