Written by on 02/19/2024

Columbus, OH – It is Monday morning, the day after, the Ohio State Buckeyes, a marginal men’s college basketball team, has upset the 2nd highest-ranked men’s basketball team in the country.  The Purdue Boilermakers arrived in “C-Bus,” expecting to earn their tenth win in a row, bragging only two losses on the season as an eight-and-a-half-point favorite to destroy Brutus on his home court.  

After a fabulous 73-69 OSU victory, an uncomfortable interim head coach fighting back emotion took to the post-game podium.  Jake Diebler told the media how his group of players came together in the few days since their head coach, Chris Holtman was dismissed.  He continued his comments praising his former boss by sharing the summary of a conversation he had with Holtman.

“It gave me a kind of confidence in me talking to him but that was really helpful for me,” said the rookie head coach with admiration for Holtman’s mentorship.  “I am so thankful for that conversation.”

Before the firing of Holtman, the “Buckeye-faithful” had little hope of making the NCAA tournament, the NIT tournament, or even getting a bid to the Ohio High School basketball championships. Yet, a fresh face on the bench and a ton of scarlet and gray enthusiasts at Value City Arena on Sunday and now OSU fans are looking at the rest of the schedule to see if twenty victories might be a reality.

Is the difference, an interim head coach who has never run a Division 1 program?

“The motto all week has been stay aggressive and keep swinging,” said Diebler when asked about how he prepared for the biggest game of his young coaching career.

Jake Diebler certainly isn’t a stranger to D-1 hoops.  The Ohio native was a wonderful high school basketball player playing for his dad at Upper Sandusky High School and won a state championship in his senior year.

Yet, he couldn’t land the right opportunity to play basketball in Ohio, so he took his skills to Indiana as a Valparaiso Crusader.  Deibler started in his last three years.  In his senior year Diebler ranked among the Horizon League’s Top 10 in three categories:  fourth in minutes played (33.8/game), sixth in 3-pointers made (1.8/game), and eighth in steals (1.3/game).  When his playing tenure ended, he stayed with the team as a student assistant coach while earning an MBA.

Since then, he has bounced around the assistant coaching circuit earning a reputation as a fabulous recruiter.  Yet, he couldn’t shake the “assistant” title and at one point took the video coordinator position under Coach Thad Matta at Ohio State University.  When the Buckeyes departed ways with Matta, Chris Holtman made Diebler a Buckeyes assistant coach.

On Sunday, the 37-year-old shocked the NCAA Men’s Basketball world by knocking off a top-ten team at home when all hope had been lost for the 2024 season.

The young leader has started his head coaching career well and perhaps well enough to remove the term “interim” from his title before “Selection Sunday.”





Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Heroes Media Group


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