Butler head Coach Chris Holtmann, who guided the Bulldogs to a very successful men’s basketball campaign in 2014-2015, has been awarded a contract extension. The new deal signed by Holtmann extends the coach’s contract through the 2020-21 season.
“We are very pleased to announce that we have reached a contract extension agreement with Chris,” said Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “He has provided outstanding leadership for our student-athletes, embodied the Butler Way and represented Butler University extremely well.”
Holtmann, 43, was named Butler’s 23rd men’s basketball head coach in January, after serving for three months as interim head coach. He was initially tabbed to lead the Bulldogs after former head coach Brandon Miller requested and was granted a medical leave of absence. Holtmann’s performance drew praise from Butler President James Danko.
“Under challenging circumstances, Chris Holtmann stepped in this past season and quickly demonstrated himself worthy of continuing the Butler legacy of excellent coaching and thoughtful leadership, including Barry Collier, that has underpinned Butler’s success. I am delighted that Chris is committed to coaching Butler for many years to come,” stated the Butler President.
Holtmann engineered a remarkable turnaround at Butler this past season, after taking over a program that was 14-17 a year ago and was picked to tie for seventh place in the BIG EAST in the league’s preseason poll. He guided the Bulldogs to a 23-11 record, a tie for second place in the BIG EAST and a second round win in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Butler tied the fourth-best single season turnaround (+8 wins) in BIG EAST history.
The Bulldogs recorded five victories against teams ranked in the “Top 25” at the time, matching the most “Top 25” wins in school history. Butler, unmentioned in the national polls at the start of the season, cracked the “Top 25” of the Associated Press national poll on Dec. 1 and then made it into the USA Today “Top 25” a week later. The Bulldogs remained in the national polls for 15 weeks and werea ranked as high as No. 15 in the A.P. Poll and No. 18 in the USA Today Poll.
“As a family, we are excited about this opportunity and we are very grateful to be able to serve Butler University in this role for years to come,” stated Holtmann. “This has become home for us and I believe that we achieved success this year because of the quality of people in and around our program that Butler attracts. We understand the great responsibility in this role and will work extremely hard to make those who care about Butler basketball proud. I want to thank President Danko and Barry Collier for their significant leadership and support.”
Holtmann stands fourth on Butler’s list for wins by a first-year coach. And he became just the third coach in Butler history to reach the NCAA Tournament in his first season, and the third to win his first NCAA Tournament game. The Bulldogs’ 23 wins in 2014-15 matched the 11th-highest single season total in Butler basketball history.