The Butler Bulldog basketball program hit a pivotal moment today by inking head coach Chris Holtmann to an extension until the 2024-2025 season. Jeff Goodman of ESPN broke the news and it’s a big deal for both the Butler Bulldogs and the Big East conference as a whole. Coming off of back-to-back National Championship appearances the Butler Bulldogs were making the jump from the Atlantic-10 Conference to the “new” Big East Conference in the 2013-2014 season. Hot shot head coach Brad Stevens ended up never seeing the move that he was responsible for through, as he accepted a job to coach my Boston Celtics. Assistant Brandon Miller took over for Brad Stevens and he failed to carry the momentum from the program’s past two seasons. In Butler’s inaugural season in the Big East they finished in 9th place with a 14-17 record. After the season the prospects for the program looked bleak and people began to wonder if Butler made the right move by making the jump and did the “new” Big East make the right move by adding the university. The next season Brandon Miller took a medical leave of absence, Chris Holtmann took over and the rest is history.
The Bulldogs have had 3 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with all of them being 20+ win seasons. They also got the monkey off their back this past season winning their first ever Big East Tournament game. Chris Holtmann can coach, recruit and develop talent and it was prudent that the Bulldogs retained him. Holtmann generated a lot of interest from other schools this offseason but he passed on them to remain with the Bulldogs. It’s huge for their program but it’s also huge for the Big East Conference. The “old” Big East saw legendary coaches stay with their schools like Boeheim, Thompson, Rollie, and Carnesecca and that built the conference into a powerhouse. With the “new” Big East still in its early stages it’s important to have good continuity amongst the league’s coaches. With Holtmann in the fold, Ed Cooley signing a “lifetime” extension, Jay Wright not looking to go anywhere and Mack staying at Xavier it can further develop the conference that brought 7/10 teams to last year’s dance. Now if only Butler can figure out how to beat the Friars, they are 2-7 against them all time.