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Men’s Basketball: Chris Holtmann, coaches exceed expectations in performance evaluations

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann claps after a Buckeye defensive stop in the first half in the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westeheide | Photo Editor

After exceeding many expectations placed on the Ohio State men’s basketball team in his first season as head coach, Chris Holtmann was said to have made “the most amazing transition into OSU on all levels” by athletic director Gene Smith in his performance evaluation.

In addition, all other coaches on Ohio State’s staff were graded as having exceeded expectations after the team finished 25-9 (15-3 Big Ten) with a win in the NCAA Tournament and the Big Ten Player of the Year in Keita Bates-Diop.

In each of the coaches’ performance evaluation, obtained by The Lantern, there is a self-appraisal section in which the coach assigns a percentage time spent in each area and determines whether they exceeded or met expectations, or if they need improvement. There also is space to discuss a summary of the year with challenges faced and how the coach expects to improve over the next year. Lastly, the coach has to write up a draft of his own goal setting for the manager to review.

The evaluation then contains reviews from the manager — in Holtmann’s case, Smith; in the assistant coaches’ cases, Holtmann. These include looking at core competencies, summarizing the past year and listing areas of improvement.

Chris Holtmann

Holtmann received glowing reviews from Smith, and was listed as having exceeded expectations in several core competencies: competitive success of the program, commitment to compliance, student-athlete welfare and public relations/donor relations.

He was said to have met expectations in academic success of the program, leadership, communication and budget management.

In his review, Smith praised Holtmann’s “excellent” interaction with fans and supporters of the program. Holtmann had been seen around campus giving away donuts on move-in day and free meals to students at Raising Cane’s among other promotions for the basketball team.

Smith also said Holtmann embraced former players and built trust with the current team to create “a culture of competing at the highest level in the classroom and on the court!”

The only areas for improvement laid out by Smith were to continue to grow within the university by inviting other coaches and faculty to the Schottenstein Center for practices or lunch.

“Always have student engagement strategies,” Smith also added.

Holtmann was less quick to praise himself in his evaluation. He split his time up 50 percent to organizing and leading the day-to-day operations of the team, 30 percent to recruiting “3 classes at 1 time” and 20 percent to managing the staff. He indicated interchangeable reviews of exceeding expectations to meeting expectations with day-to-day leadership of the team, said he met expectations with recruiting and that he needs improvement managing the staff.

“Need to manage staff better, implement our system and culture better with such a new team,” Holtmann wrote in the improvement section.

He noted the transition to the new team, job and environment “is always a challenge.”

In terms of goals for the new season, Holtmann said he wanted to add a top 25 recruiting class for 2018 with “Buckeyes who fit us,” win half of the signature non-conference games on the schedule, which he listed as Cincinnati, Creighton, Syracuse and UCLA, finish in the top half of the Big Ten and play in the postseason.

Ohio State already has wins against Cincinnati and Creighton, but lost to Syracuse.

Ryan Pedon

Pedon was graded as having exceeded all expectations by Holtmann in his performance evaluation for all core competencies, with Holtmann writing that Pedon “had a very good year.”

“He was exceptional in helping to build an important recruiting class,” Holtmann wrote. “Ryan helped coordinate a top 25 offense. In addition, he does an outstanding job connecting with Buckeye players of the past.”

The only not for improvement Holtmann had for Pedon was to continue to “lay the groundwork for outstanding and important recruiting classes that fit our program.”

Pedon said in his self-evaluation he split his time up evenly at 33 percent each between recruiting, player development and offense, with recruiting and offense exceeding expectations and player development meeting expectations.

The challenges he said he faced were “normal challenges associated with taking over a program in June” that included gaining recruiting momentum, establishing trust with players and laying out the new culture.

Pedon said over the next year, he hopes to push himself to learn and grow in leadership and communication, while committing to his health and making exercise a daily part of his routine. He also wanted to build stronger relationships with the players.

As for 2018-19 goals, Pedon said he wants the freshman class to become leaders on the team, he wants to add one or two recruits to the 2020 class, help the team maximize both academic and athletic potential and lay the groundwork for the program’s future success.

Mike Schrage

As with Pedon, Schrage was listed by Holtmann as having exceeded expectations in each of the core competencies with the Buckeyes’ head coach saying that Schrage “had a very good year!”

“He had an exceptional year recruiting and continues to carry a major role on that front,” Holtmann wrote. “His role in our scouting of opponents was instrumental to our success.”

Holtmann noted he wants to see Schrage continue to develop his position group of players and “spearhead important recruiting classes in 2020 and 2021.”

Schrage said he split his time up 50 percent coaching, 30 percent recruiting and 20 percent scouting. He said he exceeded expectations with recruiting and scouting and met expectations with coaching.

The challenges he said he faced were building trust with the players on Ohio State’s roster the coaching staff did not recruit or have previous relationships with and having a late start to the 2018 recruiting class. He also said it was a challenge to scout a new conference in limited time.

He felt he needed to improve in studying the game both individually and collectively, reviewing opponent scouting and preparing to recruit an even stronger 2019 class and build earlier relationships.

Schrage’s 2018-19 goals started off with building a top 10 2019 recruiting class and returning the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament. He also said he wants to help the student-athletes grow as players and as people, and he wants to follow every NCAA rule and score a 90 percent or better on his NCAA Recruiting Exam.

Terry Johnson

Johnson marked the third coach Holtmann said exceeded expectations on all core competencies across the board, with Holtmann saying that Johnson “had a very good year!”

“He developed good relationships with our players, helped recruit an important class, and had a very important role in coordinating a Top 20 Defense,” Holtmann wrote, noting that the only areas of improvement were to develop recruiting relationships in the 2020 and 2021 classes and to continue to develop the core of young bigs.

Johnson said he split his time evenly at 33 percent each between helping the student-athletes and on off the floor, recruiting and defense. He graded himself as exceeding expectations in helping the student-athletes and defense and said he met expectations with recruiting.

The challenges Johnson said he faced came in learning the new university, as well as the players on the team which he did not recruit. He noted he hoped to “attend professional development opps.”

For his goals, Johnson said he hopes to add at least one major recruit to the 2020 or 2021 classes, lead the team to the NCAA Tournament and have it advance, maintain compliance with NCAA, Big Ten and Ohio State rules and continue to learn as a mentor and coach.

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