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Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann Promotes Assistant Jake Diebler As Staff Undergoes Makeover

The Buckeyes lost two of their top three assistants to other coaching opportunities this offseason.

With Ryan Pedon being named the head coach at Illinois State and Tony Skinn returning to his home state of Maryland as an assistant, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has a couple of vacancies on his staff to address this offseason.

His first order of business, though, was to promote third-year assistant Jake Diebler – who served as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator last season – to Pedon’s spot on the bench.

“Jake will be elevated to Ryan’s position,” Holtmann said during his radio show on 97.1 The Fan last week. “He will also take the offense over from Ryan and we’ll continue to construct the staff here in the coming weeks. There will be decisions on guys we’re bringing in and who we’re hiring. Obviously, it’s a position that has garnered a lot of attention because of this place and the success we’ve had.”

Diebler, the older brother of former Ohio State guard Jon Diebler, was a video coordinator at Ohio State from 2014-16 and then joined the staff as a full-time assistant in 2019 after three years at Vanderbilt. He notably served the interim head coach when both Holtmann and Pedon missed the 95-87 win over Northwestern on Jan. 9 after both tested positive for COVID-19.

But now that Diebler’s future on the staff is secured, Holtmann’s next order of business is to fill out the two other positions, which include a new defensive coordinator and an assistant who specializes in recruiting and player development, the void left by Skinn.

“Obviously, (we’ve) got a lot in front of us right now with the offseason. I think you’re going to see this every year with the offseason,” Holtmann said. “There’s a lot – in particular with this offseason – a lot of things to figure out, and we’ll get there.”

“To say my next few months are going to be busy would be an understatement. They’re going to be extremely, extremely busy until we get our roster finalized and our staffing. I would want nothing more than for Ryan to get a head coaching job, so these are good problems to have.”

As for what he’ll look for in potential candidates to fill those positions, Holtmann noted their work ethic, coaching experience and the ability to recruit will be the key qualities they must have. He also understands the importance of hiring the right people as he embarks on his first season without Pedon since 2015, as they spent two years together before coming to Columbus.

“One of the things Ryan, Jake and Tony – and really everybody on staff, down to our support staff – is they have a tremendous, tremendous work ethic, and that is required,” Holtmann said. “I think if you’re going do this well, it requires a lot of time. You don’t have to be here all the time, but there is an element of time required in jobs like this. It does consume you in a way that maybe other jobs may not, so there’s an expectation of that. 

“Also, I want guys that appreciate what we're trying to do, the culture that we have and that we’ve established. As much as anything, I really appreciate guys that are well-rounded in coaching, that can recruit at a really high level – that’s going be important – but also are good coaches and have learned the game and can develop relationships with players.”

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