Holtmann's Departure Leaves Integrity In Question

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Jared Grubbs, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Jared Grubbs

    Jared Grubbs Administrator Staff Member VIP Member


    Sudden breakups are never easy. They usually aren’t particularly fair. Unfortunately they happen all too often in college basketball. Unfortunately Butler has frequently been involved. LaVall Jordan is now the 7th head coach of the Bulldogs since the turn of the century.

    Sometimes these breakups are amicable. That's usually the case at Butler. The fans don't like losing successful coaches, but they understand it's business. You won't find a Bulldog supporter with anything negative to say about former Butler coach Brad Stevens. It's safe to say the number of Celtics fan in Indianapolis is up significantly these days.

    It doesn't appear Chris Holtmann will be getting that same love. Despite everything he’s done for Butler, which includes revitalizing a program that was on the brink of spiraling out of control, Holtmann won’t carry the fans blessing over to Ohio State. It doesn't take much time browsing the message boards to see the fans aren't pleased. Not only did Coach Holtmann bolt for the Buckeyes, but he took with him the entire assistant coaching staff and the highest ranked recruit ever to commit to Butler.

    None of that is unusual though. Coaches leave all the time. They frequently take some assistants with them. Holtmann isn’t the first to bring his best recruit with him, and he certainly won’t be the last. Gregg Doyel even wrote an entire article about how that’s ok. And he’s absolutely right.

    But it’s not about what Holtmann did. It’s how he did it. Few fans blame him for leaving Butler, a school whose basketball infrastructure is still catching up to life as a high major school, to join one of the richest athletic departments in the country. But you also won’t find many fans who aren’t a little bitter about this tweet he sent out just a few days prior, appearing to be an announcement he was remaining at Butler and was set on taking the Bulldogs to their 4th straight NCAA tournament:

    It’s not that Holtmann took a pay increase to jump to Ohio State. If someone gives me a multimillion dollar raise I’d bolt my current job too. It’s the leak from Holtmann’s agent that he was making in the low $1 million range. This created a false narrative that the coach will nearly triple his salary, a bad look for a Butler program still trying to shed it’s mid-major reputation. Holtmann signed a new deal with Butler this spring that multiple sources say escalated his salary to around $2 million, or about double what was reported.

    And it’s not that Holtmann took Kyle Young with him. Many people saw that coming. It’s that he told the Indy Star just days prior that it was important to him that Butler maintain their roster and keep their historic recruiting class. Apparently it wasn’t that important. The negative recruiting tactics used against other potential Butler targets immediately after leaving certainly didn’t sit well either.

    Other fans and media outlets around the country have criticized Butler nation for the way Holtmann has been treated on his way out the door. Some of that criticism is warranted. As I said, breakups usually aren’t fair, and the ire of Bulldog fans is certainly more extreme than Hotlmann deserves. Coach loved Butler. No one has ever questioned that. This is probably just a classic case of Hanlon’s razor. Emotions can get in the way of reason sometimes.

    Those outside fans and media don’t understand how real the “Butler Way” is though. It’s not just some generic phrase that you see at other schools. It’s a set of principles that have become very deeply ingrained in the culture at Butler. Integrity means everything here. In a murky world of college sports where other programs are offering fake classes or buying hookers for recruits, it might seem petty for Butler fans to get up in arms over a few hypocritical statements made by a now former coach. But that’s life in the Butler bubble.

    Maybe this anger will pass over time. It will probably lessen at least. New coach LaVall Jordan is a rising star in the coaching world, and sooner or later he’s going to take Butler to heights Chris Holtmann couldn’t. That will ease some of this pain. It will bring closure for many. Hopefully then Butler fans can look back at the Holtmann era with respect and appreciation. After everything he’s brought this program, he deserves at least that.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  2. seadawg

    seadawg Well-Known Member VIP Member

    That pretty much covers the whole ordeal.
    indienapolis, #60 and bmradio99 like this.
  3. Red1972

    Red1972 Well-Known Member

    LaVall will take Butler to victories in the Big East Tourney, Butler will get to the Sweet Sixteen, maybe highter, and LaVall will be able to recruit even better than Holtmann. In the near future Young's flip will be a distant memory and all Butler fans will forget
    about Holtmann.
  4. Irishdawg

    Irishdawg Banned User

    Well put as usual Jared - thanks for putting this together.
    indienapolis and #60 like this.
  5. Charlston

    Charlston New Member

    It is not all about a coach, he is great as much his team is good. He made some nice moments for Butler but not on his own.
  6. the_speakers_lab

    the_speakers_lab Well-Known Member

  7. WestLoopDog

    WestLoopDog Well-Known Member VIP Member

    My friend and former work colleague is John Beilein's brother. Everything I've heard about him and his programs over the years is consistent with this article. He is very deserving of this title.

    An interesting footnote is that John's dream job for many years was Indiana. He always built into his (early) contracts a clause stating that if IU came calling he could leave without a buy-out penalty. Unfortunately for him, the timing of recent IU openings (Davis-Sampson-Crean) and his progression from WVU to Michigan didn't line up.

    We can only speculate "what if he had ended up at IU?" It's easy to imagine that given his coaching talents, the fertile recruiting ground in the state of Indiana, and the allure of IU that he could have had some pretty amazing teams. Probably even accomplished more than he has during his very successful tenure at Michigan. And who knows, if he had been at IU would it have affected Butler's trajectory -- for instance, if a kid from Brownsburg had been recruited by Beilein and decided to play for IU?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  8. Baddog

    Baddog Well-Known Member

    Not angry in the least that Holtmann is gone. Or that he took his coaches. Kind of cheap to take the recruit, but let the kid go where he wants. He never once suited up for BU. There are really two downsides to Holtmann leaving. Potential long term problem is perception....that of Butler being a stepping stone coaching position. We've had too many coaching changes over a relatively short span. The second downside is short term, and it's recruiting. If we get anything worthwhile in 2018 it will be a bonus. (Would love to get that Kopp kid out of Texas. He's going to be a player.)

    LaVall will have to firmly establish himself in the position over time as the "face" of BU basketball, he needs to cultivate over time his Butler recruiting network (local and national), and most importantly, Butler needs to win on court. All of those things will happen. Holtmann was okay as an interim fix. But please don't heap all this praise on him for "saving the program". Actually, he should be hitting his knees thanking Butler for putting him in the enviable position to get the $$$$ OSU job. Even Jordan said in his first interview after accepting the position that unless you go with a total idiot you can plug someone in to the head coaching position at Butler and be successful, for the most part. Holtmann was right place, right time. (the Miller situation he inherited was a total anomaly, but not that difficult to overcome, given BU history.) Wait and see. Holtmann will get exposed as just an average basketball coach sooner rather than later at OSU.

    Even though LaVall hasn't won a game that counts for Butler, it is sure refreshing to hear him talk "basketball" when interviewed. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable and perceptive, intelligent and well-spoken, but he even sounds like he makes the game a whole lot of fun for his players. Guys are going to like playing for him. Got a feeling he's going to be really good with adjustments during games. I'm sure we'll disagree with some of his game moves from time to time, but I bet we won't see things like our best player and leading scorer and arguably our best rebounder coming off the fricking bench after 6 to 7 minutes in each half, and then having to take another minute or two to break a sweat and get into the flow. Or routinely pulling the "hot hand" no matter the player or situation. And on and fricking on with the head scratchers.

    It is indeed somewhat frustrating to see us lose some of these 2018 recruits. But it is what it is. We all knew it was going to happen. We could still get one or two. Maybe. I'll still take LaVall over Holtmann even if we totally strike out on 2018 recruits. Long term, great for Butler. And, I would wager big dollars on LaVall being at Butler a whole lot longer than Holtmann will be at OSU. We'll be fine in 2017 - 2018. I know we'll be a much better coached team.

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