BY KYLE BEERY | SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler men’s basketball team went into this season with questions surrounding the head coaching position.
And days after the season ended, there were more questions, as The Tennessean reported Friday that the University of Tennessee spoke with Butler coach Chris Holtmann about its job vacancy.
But Holtmann signed a contract extension Monday with the Bulldogs through the 2020-2021 season.
This was Holtmann’s first year as head coach of the Bulldogs. He took over in October as interim head coach when Brandon Miller announced he was taking a medical leave of absence. The interim tag was removed on Jan. 2 and Holtmann officially became the 23rd head coach of the program.
To ease the minds of Bulldogs fans even more Monday, it was reported the Vols are heavily pursuing former Texas head coach Rick Barnes.
Barnes was fired after 17 seasons when the Longhorns lost to Butler in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 64. Texas is reportedly courting VCU coach Shaka Smart to fill that vacancy.
Holtmann said in a press release on butlersports.com he is ready to be the Bulldogs’ coach long-term.
“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,” Holtmann said. “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 led the Bulldogs to a 23-11 record this season, where they were one shot away from advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. Butler’s 12-6 Big East record was a big turnaround — the fourth-best in conference history.