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Miller demonstrates recruiting prowess in landing Holtmann

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Successful head coach accepts assistant job with Butler

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:48 pm

Brandon Miller has been guiding the Butler men’s basketball program for just over a week; however, he has already demonstrated proficiency toward recruiting.

In wake of Brad Stevens’ stunning departure for the head coaching position with the Boston Celtics, Miller has delivered his message to prospective Bulldogs and no player yet has said that he has lost interest in Butler due to a new man leading the program.

On Monday, Miller exhibited his sales ability on an adult, as he convinced highly-successful Gardner-Webb head coach Chris Holtmann to leave his position with the Runnin’ Bulldogs, to become an assistant with a different pack of Bulldogs.

“The opportunity I am taking at Butler University, working for Brandon Miller, is a wonderful one that was just too strong to pass up for my family,” Holtmann said in a release.

Holtmann has been with the Gardner-Webb program for eight seasons in his career, including three as head coach. The 41-year-old Taylor University graduate guided the Runnin’ Bulldogs to a Division I era-record 21 wins this past season, which culminated with a berth in the Postseason Tournament.

Holtmann's squad won 10 of its last 11 games and finished just a game out of first place in the Big South Conference standings. He was named 2013 Big South Conference Coach of the Year and NABC District 3 Coach of the Year.

Both Groce and Miller spent time as assistants under current Illinois coach John Groce.

Miller was Groce’s special assistant with the Fighting Illini a year ago, while Holtmann was under Groce at Ohio University for two seasons before returning to Gardner-Webb in 2010.

"We are grateful for the resurgence Chris created here at Gardner-Webb,” Gardner-Webb athletic director Chuck Burch said. “He will be sorely missed, both on and off the court. Although we are disappointed not to have him on the sidelines here in Boiling Springs, we will always be supportive of successful coaches' pursuit of opportunities to advance their career.

"Chris is leaving an experienced, talented team for his successor, and we are confident the program is in much better shape than it was when he arrived in 2010."

Holtmann will join current Bulldog assistant coaches Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson, who each served under Stevens and were retained by Miller.