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- Enters Third Season as Butler Head Coach (45-22 Record)
- Enters Sixth Season as a Head Coach (89-76 Record)
- 2014-15 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
- 2014-15 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Finalist
- Head Coach, Gardner-Webb (Three Seasons)
- 2013 Big South Conference Coach of the Year
Entering his third season at the helm of Butler’s program, Chris Holtmann is one of only two coaches in Butler history to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons – Brad Stevens is the other. Holtmann’s teams have not only made the NCAA Tournament in each season, the Bulldogs have advanced to the Second Round in both 2015 and 2016.
In just two seasons, Holtmann has already won 45 games at Butler. His teams are an impressive 22-14 in BIG EAST play. Holtmann will add Butler’s highest-rated recruiting class in program history for the 2016-17 season, a class that was ranked as high as 20th on National Signing Day.
The 2015-16 Bulldogs averaged 79.9 points per game, which ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Butler opened the season with an 11-1 non-conference record, climbing as high as ninth in the AP poll and tenth in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Butler closed the BIG EAST schedule by winning seven of nine games down the stretch as Roosevelt Jones, Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin each received All-BIG EAST honors. Under Holtmann’s tutelage, Dunham finished his Butler career as the program’s third-leading scorer with 1,946 points, while Jones ranks in the Top 10 in assists, rebounds and steals.
To say that Holtmann’s initial season at the helm of the Butler program was a success would be an understatement. He guided a Butler team that was picked to tie for seventh in the BIG EAST to a 23-11 campaign, a tie for second place in the BIG EAST regular season race and a berth in the 2015 Tournament. Along the way, the Bulldogs knocked off five teams ranked in the “Top 25” at the time, including No. 5/6 North Carolina at the Battle 4 Atlantis, and picked up a second round NCAA Tournament win.
Butler, unmentioned in the national polls at the start of the season, was among teams receiving votes or ranked in the “Top 25” in 16 of the final 17 weeks of the season. The Bulldogs climbed to as high as No. 15 in the AP national poll and No. 18 in the USA Today national poll. Butler tied the fourth-best turnaround in BIG EAST history (+8) and matched the 11th-highest single season win total in school history. For his efforts, Holtmann was named a finalist for both the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award and the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.
Holtmann left a position as head coach at Gardner-Webb to become an assistant coach at Butler prior to the 2013-14 season. After one year as an assistant, Holtmann found himself back in the lead chair. On Oct. 2, 2014, Butler Head Coach Brandon Miller requested and was granted a medical leave of absence. Holtmann was appointed interim head coach and given the task of leading the Bulldogs through the start of the 2014-15 season. Three months later, on Jan. 2, 2015, Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier removed the “interim” tag and named Holtmann head coach of the Bulldogs.
Holtmann served as head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons (2010-13), leading the North Carolina school through a successful rebuilding effort. He took the Runnin’ Bulldogs from eight wins in 2009-10 to a school Division I record 21 victories and a berth in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament in his last year. Gardner-Webb won ten of its final 11 games in 2012-13 and finished a game out of first place in the Big South Conference. For his efforts, Holtmann was named Big South Conference Coach of the Year and NABC District 3 Coach of the Year.
Prior to taking the head coaching position at Gardner-Webb, Holtmann spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio University under former Butler assistant John Groce. He helped build back-to-back top classes as recruiting coordinator for the Bobcats, and he was part of the staff that led Ohio to the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament title and an upset of No. 3 seed Georgetown in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Before his stint at Ohio, he served for five seasons as an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb, including four seasons as Associate Head Coach.
A native of Nicholasville, Ky., Holtmann was an NAIA All-American guard at Taylor University. He helped lead Taylor to a 25-9 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament in 1993-94. He served as a graduate assistant coach at Taylor in 1997-98, spent one season as an assistant coach at Geneva College and then returned to Taylor as an assistant coach under head coach Paul Patterson. In his final two seasons at Taylor, the Trojans posted a 50-16 record, won back-to-back conference titles and ranked in the “Top 15” of the NAIA national poll.
Holtmann earned a degree in psychology from Taylor in 1994 and a Master’s Degree in athletic administration from Ball State in 2000. He and his wife, Lori, have one daughter, Nora Jane.
2014-present – Butler University, Head Coach
2013-14 – Butler University, Assistant Coach
2010-13 – Gardner-Webb, Head Coach
2008-10 – Ohio University, Assistant Coach
2003-08 – Gardner-Webb, Assistant Coach/Associate Head Coach
1999-2003 – Taylor University, Assistant Coach
1998-99 – Geneva College, Assistant Coach
1997-98 – Taylor University, Graduate Assistant