Chris Holtmann Reportedly Front-Runner for Ohio State Coaching Job

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24: Head coach Chris Holtmann of the Butler Bulldogs looks on in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There is reportedly a new front-runner for the vacant head basketball coaching position at Ohio State.

On Thursday, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported Butler's Chris Holtmann is the favorite to land the position, per sources. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported Friday that Holtmann is in negotiations with Ohio State and the deal is "still not 100 [percent] done." However, he noted an agreement could be finalized Friday.

Previous coach Thad Matta announced his resignation Monday.

This is the latest development in what has been a fast-moving coaching search highlighted by a number of potential candidates seemingly pulling out of the running.

Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, "Anytime your name is associated with [a] great job, it's an honor. But I'm head coach of the Bulls/have no intention of leaving."

What's more, Creighton coach Greg McDermott and Xavier coach Chris Mack appeared to put an end to any rumors by professing their love of their schools on Twitter:

Elsewhere, Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins said of any chance the Buckeyes could lure Wildcats coach Sean Miller, "They will have to come over me to get him, as the saying goes, over my dead body," via Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic.

If Ohio State did hire Holtmann, it wouldn't be the first time it landed an old Butler coach. Matta received his first Division I head coaching job in 2000-01 with the Bulldogs before he took the Xavier position.

Holtmann sports a 70-31 record in three seasons with Butler and led the program to the NCAA tournament all three years. He reached the Sweet 16 in the 2017 Big Dance before losing to the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels.

He coached at Gardner-Webb before taking the Butler position.

Holtmann will have a rebuilding job ahead of him if he takes the Buckeyes job. While Ohio State is a historically great program that is sixth all-time with 11 Final Fours, it missed the last two NCAA tournaments and didn't secure a commitment from a single top-50 prospect in 2017 or 2016, per Scout.

Related

    Ohio State Has Nation's No. 4 Recruiting Class

    Ohio State Basketball logo
    Ohio State Basketball

    Ohio State Has Nation's No. 4 Recruiting Class

    Eleven Warriors
    via Eleven Warriors

    5-Star PG DJ Carton Commits to OSU

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    5-Star PG DJ Carton Commits to OSU

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Alabama Lands 4-Star Wing Juwan Gary

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Alabama Lands 4-Star Wing Juwan Gary

    Scott Phillips
    via CollegeBasketballTalk

    Ayton Hopes to Be an All-Star in Rookie Season

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Ayton Hopes to Be an All-Star in Rookie Season

    Arizona Desert Swarm
    via Arizona Desert Swarm