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Chris Holtmann introduced as OSU men's basketball coach

(WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Three days after he was officially announced as the 14th men's basketball coach in Ohio State history, Chris Holtmann was introduced to the media on Monday morning.

Holtmann, 45, spent the last three seasons at Butler amassing a 71-30 record where the Bulldogs made the NCAA tournament each year and won at least one tournament game each trip.

Prior to that he was 44-54 in three seasons at Gardner-Webb gradually improving from 11 wins to 21.

"Wow. What a honor to be in front of you today," Holtmann said as he took the podium during his introductory press conference.

People close to Holtmann said this was one of the few jobs for which he was willing to entertain the idea of leaving Butler. They said he turned down offers from other schools.

"(Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith) was aggressive and persistent in his approach and I really appreciated that," he said.

Ohio State moved quickly after letting go of the school's all-time leader in wins, Thad Matta. The Buckeyes hired Holtmann less than a week after firing Matta.

"It was clear, he was my target," Smith said. "He was my target from the very beginning Monday night (after Matta was fired)."

Holtmann said he started making recruiting calls an hour after his hiring became official. He will take over a program which struggled last year and had been losing recruits.

"It's been the busiest week of my life," Holtmann said. "We've got some work to do. There's no question about it. We have a great group of kids and some talented guys. The roster is a little bit thin."

He said he wants to see his players be more aggressive on both ends of the court. He said his staff will work hard to keep Ohio recruits in-state.

"We're going to work extremely hard as a staff to close the borders and dominate the State of Ohio in recruiting," he said. "It will be an everyday focus for us."

Holtmann signed an eight-year contract worth about $3 million annually. He said he also wanted to make the Buckeyes' non-conference schedule more difficult so his players get the compete against the best teams in the country.

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