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DePaul hires former Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann after 3-29 season

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 27: Head coach Chris Holtmann of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts against the Northwestern Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena on January 27, 2024 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
New DePaul coach Chris Holtmann was fired by Ohio State in February. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (Michael Reaves via Getty Images)

Chris Holtmann wasn’t out of college basketball for very long.

Just weeks after he was fired from his head coaching position at Ohio State, Holtmann was hired Thursday to be DePaul’s men’s basketball coach. The Blue Demons are looking for someone to revitalize the program after an absolutely dreadful season in 2023-24. DePaul finished the season at 3-29, though it came close to upsetting Villanova on Wednesday night in the first round of the Big East tournament.

DePaul was one of just four teams at the top level of men’s basketball along with Cal Poly, Missouri and Pacific to go winless during conference play. DePaul was 0-20 during the regular season in the Big East and its last win came on Dec. 30 over Chicago State.

The school fired coach Tony Stubblefield in January and lost its final 14 games of the season under interim coach Matt Brady.

Holtmann was fired in mid-February as Ohio State was 4-10 in the Big Ten and 14-11 overall. Thanks to a contract that went through 2028, Holtmann got a buyout of nearly $13 million.

The Buckeyes had made all four NCAA tournaments that were played during Holtmann’s first five seasons with the school but took a step back in 2022-23 with a 16-19 record. Things weren’t trending much better at the time of Holtmann’s firing in February, but the team rebounded under interim coach Jake Diebler to finish the regular season 5-1. Ohio State improved to 6-1 under Diebler on Thursday night with a Big Ten tournament win over Iowa.

If Holtmann can lead DePaul to the NCAA tournament the Blue Demons will be making their first appearance since 2004 when they were members of Conference USA. DePaul has posted just one winning record in Big East play since joining the conference in 2005.

Holtmann’s hire also comes after Oklahoma coach Porter Moser shot down rumors that he could become DePaul’s new coach. The former Loyola Chicago coach is in his third season with the Sooners.