Gardner-Webb hires Holtmann to be basketball coach

Apr 22, 2010 - 4:45 PM BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.(AP) -- Not much has gone right for Gardner-Webb since its stunning upset of Kentucky in 2007.

One of the men on the bench for that game - and who was a part of one of the biggest NCAA tournament upsets this year - will try to get the program back on track.

Gardner-Webb announced on Thursday that Ohio assistant Chris Holtmann will take over as coach. He replaces Rick Scruggs, who was fired last month after 15 seasons.

The 38-year-old Holtmann spent five years as an assistant at Gardner-Webb under Scruggs from 2003-08, which included the Runnin' Bulldogs win at Rupp Arena. Holtmann then left for Ohio, and last month the Bobcats upset No. 3 seed Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"Chris presented to us a passionate, broad vision and an attainable plan for success for the program and the young men he will coach and mentor," Gardner-Webb athletic director Chuck Burch said. "We are pleased to appoint him as the driving force behind a bright, new era in Gardner-Webb basketball."

Holtmann will take over a Big South program that has struggled. The Runnin' Bulldogs went 8-21 last season and didn't qualify for the conference tournament with a 5-13 league mark.

Gardner-Webb was 13-17 in the 2008-09 season.

"This has been a tremendously humbling, yet thrilling experience, and I am honored to earn the title of head basketball coach here at Gardner-Webb University," Holtmann said.

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