After a weird-o-rama week that involved a plane trip to Omaha for what turned into no damn reason, Ohio State men’s basketball has a new head coach: Butler’s Chris Holtmann.
Holtmann went 70-31 in three seasons as head coach at Butler after taking over as interim head coach from Brandon Miller before the 2014-15 season. After never reaching the NCAA tournament in three seasons in charge at Gardner-Webb, he joined the Butler staff as an assistant to Miller in 2013-14. When Holtmann took over with Miller on leave, he guided the Bulldogs to three straight NCAA tournaments and established them as a prominent player in the Big East after The Reformation.
The question for Marquette fans, and I suppose Big East fans in general, at this point is what does the future hold for Butler without Holtmann steering the ship? Well, if the last 20 years are any indication, it probably holds good news for the Bulldogs.
Since the 1996-97 season, when current BU athletic director and then basketball coach Barry Collier led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA tournament since 1962, Butler has appeared in 14 NCAA tournaments. Miller is the only coach since Collier to not guide the Bulldogs to the Big Dance, and that includes Thad Matta who was only in Indianapolis for one season before moving on to Xavier. 10 of those tourney appearances came out of the Horizon League, which means that the Bulldogs, more often than not, had to win the conference tournament to make it into the national championship tournament.
The point here is that Butler, largely speaking, has been wildly successful regardless of who their coach has been for the past two decades. With Collier picking the new coach, odds are that the former coach is going to get a guy who meshes perfectly with the culture that has been built up over the last 20 years.
Of course, even the biggest Butler homer would have to admit that Collier whiffed on hiring Miller in 2013 and that he got lucky to have Holtmann on staff when Miller had to go on leave. Can Collier avoid another misstep like that when running an unexpected coaching search in mid-June? We’ll have to wait to get an answer to that question, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Marquette if Butler isnt quite as good for the next few years as they were under Chris Holtmann.