Holtmann Bio Page - GWUSports.com—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Chris Holtmann
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Nicholasville, Ky.
Alma Mater: Taylor
Graduating Year: 1994
Experience: 3 Years
Phone: (704) 406-4348
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Holtmann Videos
Holtmann Bio Page
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
Release: 04/22/2010
Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtmann has quickly established himself as the right choice to lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs, entering his third season at the helm. A strong tactician and recruiter, his tremendous leadership and enthusiasm has injected energy and toughness into a tradition-rich program.

Last season, Gardner-Webb again played one of the toughest non-conference slates in the nation among mid-majors, and battled hard in each of those contests – holding halftime leads at Butler and Wake Forest - and playing tough against a brutal stretch of opponents.

Holtmann's squad was sturdy again at home, forging a 9-4 mark in Paul Porter Arena. During his two seasons at the helm, Holtmann has seen the Runnin' Bulldogs post 15 wins at home, taking advantage of a very enthusiastic home court advantage.

In his first season, Holtmann directed the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a strong 6-4 start against a tough early season schedule – including a 78-70 win at Atlantic 10 member Charlotte in the season opener. Gardner-Webb finished with an 11-21 overall mark, but advanced to the league’s postseason tournament for the first time since 2008-2009. The record is somewhat deceiving, however, as the Runnin’ Bulldogs were highly competitive – losing eight games by three points or less, including five of those in Big South Conference play.


WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT HOLTMANN
COACHES

John Groce, Head Coach
University of Illinois

“Gardner-Webb has hired an exceptional coach but an even better person. He understands what it takes to build a successful basketball program and winning culture – both on and off the court. The Ohio basketball family is very excited for Chris and his family to have such a special opportunity.”

 

 

  Paul Patterson, Head Coach
Taylor University (NAIA Hall of Famer)

“I am excited for both Chris Holtmann and Gardner-Webb University. Chris is a bright, energetic, tireless worker who has been a high achiever his entire career. I would expect to see the same from him in his leadership at Gardner- Webb. His teams will be hard working, well prepared , and hard to play against every night. This is a good day for Gardner-Webb University.”

  Brad Stevens, Head Coach
Butler University

“Chris is a great person and coach. His experience, both in coaching and at Gardner-Webb, will help the program flourish under his direction.”

  NATIONAL MEDIA

  Jeff Goodman, CBS Sports

“Chris Holtmann is one of the rising young coaches in the game today. He's a guy who just flat-out gets it. He has a tremendous work ethic, connects with his players, can recruit and also knows the game. There just aren't a lot of guys in the business who have that type of versatility. Just look at the success Gardner-Webb had when he was on staff - and then check out what Ohio University did this past season. It's no coincidence that Chris has been an integral part of both situations.”

 
Dave Telep, ESPN

“I think Gardner-Webb caught Chris on the way up. He’s a grinder who knows his way around our state and has always done a good job with his evaluations. They don’t get after it much harder than Chris Holtmann.”

Holtmann, 40, returned to Gardner-Webb after spending two seasons as the lead assistant at Ohio University. In that role, he was instrumental in helping the Bobcats win the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament in March and to an upset of No. 3 seed Georgetown in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. That win was the first in the NCAA Tournament for Ohio since 1983.

Holtmann is the fifth head coach in the 42-year senior college history of Gardner-Webb men’s basketball.

The time to take over a program of his own arrived after years of hard work for Holtmann. He has served for 12 seasons as a coach in the college ranks, developing a strong reputation as an excellent tactician – particularly on the defensive end of the floor – and a relentless recruiter. During his last 10 seasons on the bench, Holtmann has been a part of five conference championships.

During Holtmann’s time at Ohio, he was a key figure in securing the top recruiting classes in the Mid-American Conference in each of his seasons with the school according to ESPN.com, including 2010 MAC Freshman of the Year D.J. Cooper.

In 2009-2010, Ohio led the Mid-American Conference in scoring offense (74.7 ppg) and also led the league in assist/turnover ratio and defensive rebounding – two statistical categories Holtmann places extreme importance in.

Holtmann is no stranger to Gardner-Webb basketball. He spent five seasons as an assistant at GWU from 2003-2008, and was the program’s Associate Head Coach in four of those seasons, proving to be a major asset in some of the program’s most notable basketball moments.

Under Holtmann’s guidance, the Runnin’ Bulldogs experienced a strong defensive surge, leading the Atlantic Sun Conference in three-point field goal defense in 2007-08 and ranking second in overall field goal defense in 2007-08 and 2004-05.

During his time on the bench in Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb pulled off memorable upsets of East Carolina (2004, 2005), Minnesota (2005) and No. 20 Kentucky (2007), and captured the Atlantic Sun Conference’s regular season crown in 2004-05. GWU also advanced to the league’s title game that season, going 18-12 against a difficult regular season schedule.

Holtmann’s recruiting efforts helped produce some of the most notable talent for Gardner-Webb in the Division I era, including a pair of recruiting classes ranked in the national top-100 by Hoop Scoop.

The most recent of those top-100 classes included 2008 All-American and Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year Thomas Sanders. During Sanders’ senior season, the Sugarland, Texas, native averaged 18.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, finishing third nationally with 20 double-doubles on the season. Sanders was the first GWU player to average a season double-double since Stan Easterling in 1998.

Holtmann also recruited 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America guard Aaron Linn and 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year Nate Blank to Boiling Springs. Tim Jennings, another dynamic guard recruited by Holtmann, was the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year in both 2004-05 and 2005-06 and is playing professionally in South America. Jennings was a key cog in teams that combined to win 35 games in two seasons (2004-2006).

Prior to his first action in Boiling Springs, Holtmann worked under his mentor, Coach Paul Patterson, as top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Taylor University – his alma mater. The Trojans won consecutive conference titles and won at least 25 games in each of Holtmann’s final two seasons on the bench. Those teams finished ranked eighth and 13th in the NAIA national polls, respectively. Holtmann spent the 1997-98 season as a graduate assistant at Taylor – his first coaching position – before spending one season as a full-time assistant at Geneva (Pa.) College.

The Nicholasville, Ky., native was an NAIA All-America selection at guard under Coach Patterson in 1994, leading Taylor to a 29-5 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a spot in the NAIA National Tournament. Holtmann spent his high school days starring on the hardwood at Jessamine County (Ky.) High. He earned a degree in psychology from Taylor in 1994 and a Master’s in athletic administration from Ball State in 2000. He and his wife, the former Lori Bedi, have one daughter, Nora Jane, born May 19, 2010.


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