Chris Holtmann is the head coach of the Ohio State University basketball team. He was named the 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Buckeyes to a 25-9 overall record. Holtmann teams have won an opening-round game in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last five years in which the NCAA Tournament was contested, a feat accomplished by a select group of Division I coaches. Previously, Chris spent two seasons as an assistant at Ohio under former Illinois head coach John Groce, a former Matta assistant, before serving as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons. Holtmann left Gardner-Webb for an assistant-coaching job at Butler, though he was quickly promoted to interim head coach and then head coach in Indianapolis.

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  • Chris played his college basketball at a small Christian school called Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. For a coach named Paul Patterson. Chris said, “I think the core of who I am as a coach comes from him.” 
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Pursue Growth –  “As I debated, I realized that I couldn’t blame myself for craving stability – it was only human nature after all. We are drawn by the soft voice of consistency, the allure of a warm blanket of security in our jobs and lives. And while many of us willingly happily give in to living within the status quo, the reality is that the world around us rarely remains motionless. The sun rises and sets, the seasons pass and the world keeps moving and changing. It is only as we grow older and look back at life that we realize all that we have missed, all that we could have accomplished, had we simply pushed ourselves to break free of our fears.”
  • “As I found myself deliberating once again, I began to think back to the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck on motivation and failure. Dweck drew a distinction between performance orientation and learning orientation. Children that believe that their intelligence is fixed almost always give up on problems quickly, whereas those that believe their intelligence is malleable, conversely, stick with problems longer. Adults are no different. Those who are performance oriented are dissuaded by failure – they favor stability. Whereas those of who are learning oriented embrace opportunity and eschew the status quo.”
  • Head Coaches To Lead Their Teams To 5 Straight 1st Round Tourney Wins: Chris Holtmann, Mike Krzyzewski, Jay Wright, Mark Few, Bill Self, Roy Williams, John Calipari
  • Article: David Brooks – Thick versus Think organizations — “How To Leave A Mark On People
  • Focus on the process… “Do today well.”
    • “Don’t compare yourself to others.”
  • Why is Brad Stevens one of the most effective coaches in the world?
    • “He’s an extremely curious learner. He has tremendous EQ and understands how to connect with people.”
  • Chris got promoted to be the interim head coach at Butler shortly after accepting the job to be an assistant…
    • His boss (athletic director) told him, “You’ll be evaluated daily.” He came to every practice to watch Chris coach.
      • “It was hard to hear, but it was the reality. I couldn’t listen to critiques. I had to coach to my convictions.”
  • Living your values: You must make a commitment to your values and live them daily.
    • The values of the Ohio State basketball team:
      • Truth
      • Humility
      • Respect
      • Toughness – “Grit is imperative in successful people. Your response to challenging moments says everything to success.” Coach Tony Bennett is tremendously tough. “Calm is contagious.”
        • Your response to difficult circumstances is what toughness is all about.
      • Accountability
      • Thankful
  • “He who would be calm must first put on the appearance of being calm.”
  • How does one develop composure?
    • “You need people around you to give you honest feedback. We don’t realize how reactionary we can be.”
    • “Any time you feel upset with a player, wait to talk about it until you can process it. Think it through…”
  • Excellence =
    • Consistency
    • Discipline
    • “Your habits need to match your dreams.”
    • Be convicted in what you believe
  • What Chris looks for in a player:
    • Toughness — “What’s the most challenging thing you’ve been through? How did you respond?”
    • Selfless
      • “What’s your body language on the bench when you aren’t playing?”
      • “What’s your response to a teammates success?”
    • Honesty
  • Advice to leaders:
    • You can’t skip steps in the process of being a leader
      • Value the beginning stages
    • Eliminate comparison to others as much as possible
    • Be committed to growing professionally and personally. It’s about your daily habits. Your character is put on display.
      • “We write our stories one decision at a time.”
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…


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