Ohio State basketball: Gene Smith regrets Chris Holtmann extension

Speaking at a press conference about the firing of head Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann, AD Gene Smith said he never should've given him an extension in the first place.
Dec 21, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann speaks
Dec 21, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann speaks / Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatc / USA

The Ohio State basketball program will be under new leadership once the season ends. Chris Holtmann was relieved of his duties after almost seven seasons on the job. He leaves after not winning a road game for 13+ months and finishing under .500 in the Big Ten in consecutive years.

One of the big obstacles to firing Holtmann was his buyout. He got a fat new buyout when Gene Smith gave him a contract extension two years ago despite Holtmann never getting the Buckeyes past the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That ended up coming back to bite him.

Talking on Wednesday at a press conference to announce the firing, Gene Smith said he regrets giving Holtmann that extension. Because of that extension, Ohio State will now have to pay him $12.8 million for a buyout for him to just go away. That's not good business.

In the two years after Holtmann got the extension, he went 30-29 overall and missed the NCAA Tournament both years. That's very bad. Smith said that the expectations for this Ohio State basketball program are to compete for Big Ten championships and to make deep tournament runs.

If those were the expectations all along, why did Smith even entertain extending Holtmann in the first place? He never won a Big Ten regular season or tournament title. He only came close to one of those once and obviously never had success in the NCAA Tournament.

Now the Buckeyes turn their attention to bringing someone else in. A few names have been thrown out there already, so we'll see where Ross Bjork turns his attention. He is leading the search with Smith being an advisor, which seems like a good thing considering Smith hired Holtmann.

Next. Next story. Will Ross Bjork have higher expectations for the basketball program?. dark

Although Smith said firing Holtmann was his decision, I wonder how much Bjork played into that. We may never know.