Ohio State Men's Basketball Coach Chris Holtmann Receives "Excellent" Rating From Gene Smith in Performance Review

By Andy Anders on September 15, 2023 at 6:03 pm
Chris Holtmann

Gene Smith's performance review of Chris Holtmann following last season speaks to the confidence he has in Ohio State basketball's leading man.

While he didn't feel that the team met expectations on the court, the Buckeyes' athletic director gave Holtmann a rating of "excellent" in his performance review, which was recently obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.

The overall tone of the review is one of both frustration at the squad's 16-19 record during the 2022-23 season and optimism that Ohio State can achieve its goals and return to the NCAA Tournament in the 2023-24 campaign.

The Buckeyes signed the No. 8 classes nationally in 2022 and 2023 per the 247Sports composite rankings, contributing to Smith's bright outlook for what's ahead.

"While the athletic performance of the team on the court did not meet expectations, Chris did an excellent job in all other areas," Smith wrote. "Personnel management, budget, communication with all operations, schedule improvement focus, and especially recruiting. Having two ranked classes of recruits gives the program a great chance of success on the court in the future."

Smith also feels that how Holtmann's players carry themselves off the court deserves praise.

“The student-athletes did an exceptional job in the classroom and represent the University exceptionally well," Smith wrote. "Chris's focus on talent and character is seen in the young men who make up the future program. Despite the challenges on the court, Chris's focus to build for the future was represented in the tough decisions he made last year. He showed excellent leadership in staying the course and playing the young players which is great for the future.”

The Dispatch also obtained Holtmann's self-review, in which he took personal responsibility for a midseason stretch where the Buckeyes lost 14 of 15 games. Ohio State did close the season on a higher note, winning five of its last seven contests, including a run to the semifinals of the 2023 Big Ten Tournament.

Holtmann wrote that the Buckeyes will have to be "dramatically better" defensively while the offense improves its ball movement and scoring efficiency.

“I needed to get us playing better earlier than what we did,” Holtmann wrote. “Analytics stated we played like a Top 15 team the last 5 weeks of the season. I needed to get us there earlier.”

Ohio State signed Holtmann to a three-year contract extension in May of 2022, taking him through the end of the 2027-28 season and raising his annual pay to $3.5 million with a base salary of $1 million.

“After 5 years of NCAA Tournament teams and a solid level of success on the court, the results this past season were unacceptable,” Holtmann wrote in closing. “I love being a Buckeye and take great pride in representing this University and program. Although we did not meet our standards here last season I am really excited about our program and team. While we will be young again, I absolutely love our sophomore class and the lessons we learned together last year and how that can help us moving forward. That combined with a core of veterans gives us a chance at real improvement if we grow in the areas we have publicly and privately discussed as a team.”

Ohio State plays an exhibition at Dayton on Oct. 22 before opening its 2023-24 campaign against Oakland on Nov. 6.

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