Chris Holtmann
Chris Holtmann
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 317-940-9377
Email: dmccleer@butler.edu

Just one year after leaving a position as head coach at Gardner-Webb to become an assistant coach at Butler, Chris 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.

To say that Holtmann’s intial season at the helm of the Bulldogs was a success would be an understatement.  The 43-year-old coach 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 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  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 A.P. 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 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.

Holtmann has earned a reputation as a strong recruiter.  During his career, he’s recruited seven all-conference players, one Rookie of the Year, one conference Player of the Year, one Division I All-American and one first team Academic All-American.  He’s recruited and/or coached 13 players who have signed professional basketball contracts.

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.