Q&A with Butler Basketball Coach Chris Holtmann

The Bulldogs open another season at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
College coaching has become a brutally competitive, year-round job. How do you make time for your family?

I think balance is one of those things that people in our profession have a hard time figuring out. We aspire to it, and we’re envious of those who manage to achieve it. If you were to ask my five-year-old right now what her dad does, she’d probably say, “Well, he’s sure gone a lot at work.”


You grew up in Kentucky and now coach in Indiana, two states known for their passion for basketball. Which place is crazier about the sport?

They’re very similar. Both states are driven by high school and college ball. In both places, you grow up with a basketball in your hand and a goal in the yard. I used to coach in North Carolina, and the passion is great there, too. But nowhere near Indiana and Kentucky.


Butler rarely pursues the big-name recruits. How do you always find players who fit the system so well?

We’re looking for guys who buy into the team philosophy that Butler has been about for years. Certainly we’ve had some tremendous individual talent, but we’ve had success because we’ve had guys who come here looking for something other than their own individual interests.


What were some of the greatest challenges of transitioning to the Big East Conference?

It’s a very good league. Last year, it was second or third in the country. When you’re going up against that level of competition night in and night out, there’s a degree of mental toughness and grit that’s required, especially come January. I think the teams that can do that and are talented enough to compete are the teams that can usually separate themselves.


You’re very active on Twitter. This year, Clemson University banned its players from using social media during the regular season. What was your reaction to that news, and do you have any rules for your players regarding social media?

It’s tough to speak to why they would make that decision. Our guys are adults—they’re 18–22 years old. We give them the choice to be on social media, and they understand they represent their families, their university, and themselves. We consider it a valuable learning opportunity. In our minds, we’re educating them that some people form opinions based on a social media profile. But I understand that during the season, it can be quite distracting if you allow it to be.