Ohio State hires Jake Diebler as head coach after he goes 6-2 in interim role

Ohio State interim head coach Jake Diebler reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Ohio State interim head coach Jake Diebler reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State removed the interim tag from men’s basketball coach Jake Diebler’s title on Sunday and announced he will receive a five-year contract.

Diebler, 37, was in his third year as associate head coach when he took over the team following Chris Holtmann’s firing on Feb. 14.

“Jake Diebler possesses all of the characteristics we were seeking as we conducted a very comprehensive and thorough search for a new head coach,” athletic director Ross Bjork said. “Those include coaching ability, passion, energy, program knowledge, character, integrity and ties to Ohio. As an Ohio native, the son of a longtime Ohio high school coach and with deep connections to Ohio State, Jake knows what it takes to lead this program on a championship course.”

The Buckeyes (21-13) went 6-2 under Diebler, including a win over No. 2 Purdue in his first game as interim coach. They won five straight before losing to Illinois on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

“Throughout the search, every time we analyzed what was best for the program, our decision kept leading right back to Jake,” Bjork said. “The way he has led the program since Feb. 14 has been exemplary and is only the beginning of what lies ahead for Buckeye basketball. The future is exciting, and I cannot wait to watch him lead this program.”

Diebler, the first Ohio native in 35 years to be named men’s basketball head coach, is in his eighth season with the Buckeyes. He first worked with Ohio State basketball in 2014, spending three seasons as a video coordinator on Thad Matta’s staff. After three seasons as an assistant at Vanderbilt, he returned to Ohio State as an assistant coach under Holtmann before the 2019-20 season. He was promoted to associate head coach before the 2021-22 season.

“It’s a blessing and a privilege to serve this program and I’m excited for this opportunity,” Diebler said. “I’d like to thank Ross Bjork and President (Ted) Carter for believing in me and the vision that I have moving forward. Ohio State basketball is special and means so much to me and my family. I look forward to serving the entire Ohio State basketball family as best as I possibly can.”

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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