New Ohio State assistant coach Terry Johnson spent the last 10 years at Butler. The move to Columbus as part of Chris Holtmann’s staff was a bit weird at first. Johnson admitted as much himself.
But there was one thing Johnson noticed quickly, something that certainly helped aid with the transition.
“I can get in more doors and I can get my phone calls answered a little bit more,” the Buckeyes’ new assistant coach said with a smile last week.
Such is the power of a place like Ohio State.
Johnson and his fellow assistants — Ryan Pedon and Mike Schrage — did just fine at Butler. They signed the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history in 2017. Things here are just a little bit different.
They’re a lot bigger.
“Guys are excited,” Johnson said. “Guys were excited about Butler too but people still looked at Butler as small. Butler was great and the right people went there, but now I’m just in a whole different ballgame now. That’s one thing for me as a coach that I’m really excited about that.”
Many of the prospects the Buckeyes are now recruiting are ones this staff targeted at Butler. There’s a bit of a different feel to it now that the Ohio State brand is behind them, though.
“I think that we recruited to Butler which was a tremendous place in a great city that had its niche, but Ohio State is a completely different beast. It really is. I don’t say that to be good, bad or indifferent, but it’s different.”– Ohio State assistant coach Ryan Pedon
It’s not a shot at Butler, but as Pedon said, it’s just different.
“Kids know,” Pedon said. “I think that we recruited to Butler which was a tremendous place in a great city that had its niche, but Ohio State is a completely different beast. It really is. I don’t say that to be good, bad or indifferent, but it’s different.”
“Here’s what I can tell you: The kids that we’ve talked to and communicated with since we got the job have been very receptive to Ohio State,” he continued. “Relationships are a big part of that and you recruit to a school and to an institution and to a city and a certain academic standard here.”
Added Schrage: “Ohio State is a pretty powerful school, athletic department, brand, network. I feel like we recruited some guys and it’s a pretty easy transition for us at Ohio State. It’s been fun calling seniors, juniors. You can tell it carries a lot of weight, no doubt.”
Since his hiring, Holtmann said multiple times how difficult the decision was for him to leave Butler. In the end, however, the opportunity to be the head coach at Ohio State was simply too great to pass.
There are certain jobs, in every profession, you have to take. That’s how Holtmann felt with Ohio State and it’s precisely why his entire staff opted to follow.
All four are already seeing a difference.
“Coach Holtmann, you wouldn’t believe the amount of opportunities he’s passed on the last few years, high major jobs,” Schrage said. “Ohio State was a different beast. I think part of it is us realizing in recruiting the name carries a lot of weight. I think it’s a top-10 school and certainly program in the country. ”
“We’re recruiting at a pretty high level already but there’s no doubt in our mind that we can get involved with more guys. I can see that already. Started touching base with certain recruits at certain times already since we’ve been here and it carries a lot of weight to put Ohio State behind you.”
And because of that, those doors that once seemed to be closed — or maybe cracked open — now appear to be wide open.