Two years ago, Chris Holtmann tried a seat-of-his-pants strategy ahead of his first season as Ohio State men’s basketball coach to develop a rapport with students and build a buzz for the season.

Holtmann had to take to the street to alert unassuming pedestrians that a free Raising Cane’s lunch was being served on him.

On Tuesday, all it took was a tweet an hour before he arrived at the campus chicken finger favorite for a line of 75-100 hungry patrons to form around the block.

“It’s something we’re going to do every year,” Holtmann said. “Don’t expect it –– but it is something we think we’re going to every year.”

Food was served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. while the third-year coach took pictures and talked to students about everything from their hometowns to midterms. 

Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann buys Raising Cane’s for students on Oct. 15. Credit: Griffin Strom | Sports Editor

Patrick Mulligan, a third-year in construction systems management said he saw the tweet from Holtmann and came straight to the south campus location to get in line.

“I love it. I love every second of it,” Mulligan said. “I think it’s great that he’s giving back to the students –– that’s why I’m here.”

Makayla King, a second-year in marketing, said the tweet seemed “too good to be true,” but came over to check out the scene anyway, and was pleasantly surprised. King said she didn’t plan on attending men’s basketball games prior to the experience.

“I wasn’t, but he seems like such a nice guy, I might have to,” King said.

It’s the third consecutive year of Holtmann’s Raising Cane’s tradition, but he said the idea was originally spawned in his first year as Butler’s head coach when he offered students a similar deal at Starbucks.

Holtmann said there will be announcements about open practices for students to watch the team play before its Nov. 6 season opening tipoff against Cincinnati at 8:30 p.m.

“We can’t wait to see you at games,” Holtmann said. “Bring your energy, yell at the officials –– in a kind way –– support us, we appreciate your support, we love your energy, can’t wait to see you out here in 22 days.”