New Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann is embracing his role in the community.

Holtmann, who was named coach June 9 and faces the task of rebuilding the Buckeyes, was pleased to serve as honorary co-chair for the 31st annual Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic.

The tournament, which is the largest fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, was held July 17 at Scioto Reserve Country Club, Wedgewood Golf & Country Club and Tartan Fields Golf Club, with the awards ceremony and benefit auction at Scioto Reserve.

Ryan Wilkins, the senior director of communications and facilities for Ronald McDonald House Charities, estimated the event raised more than $350,000.

"What an incredible event," Holtmann said. "I've heard such great things about it prior to it and being here and seeing it firsthand, it's a really impressive event (for) obviously a tremendous cause."

Holtmann, 45, replaced Thad Matta, who was fired June 5 after 13 seasons. Holtmann guided Butler to a 70-31 record and the NCAA tournament in all three of his seasons with the school.

He provided an update on his new team during his presentation to golfers and guests.

"We're dying to get started," he said. "We have hit the ground running. We are very much a work in progress. We're doing the finishing touches on hiring our staff."

Holtmann said he had eight players on scholarship as of July 17, but he expects to add to that list.

Two of those players are brothers Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson, who helped Westerville South High School win the Division I state title in 2016.

Andre played in 17 games with the Buckeyes as a freshman last season while Kaleb was named Ohio Mr. Basketball after averaging 21.7 points and 11.3 rebounds.

"We're really excited about Andre and Kaleb and their development," Holtmann said. "Both young men are getting better and they have a very bright future."

Matta led Ohio State to a pair of Final Fours and five appearances in the Sweet 16. The Buckeyes went 17-15 last season and missed the NCAA tournament.

"I talked to Thad the week that this job came about and I wanted his blessing," Holtmann said. "It was important to me to have his blessing in both accepting this job and considering this job. I have a tremendous amount of respect for he and (his wife) Barb and the work that they did and the kind of way he did it. He's a good friend."

Holtmann and his wife, Lori, were honorary co-chairs along with Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and his wife, Shelley. Both coaches and Shelley Meyer helped auction off items at the event, including men's basketball and football tickets packages.

Urban Meyer feels good about his team heading into the season.

"We have a really good looking team and I usually don't get excited," he said. "I'm kind of a (glass is) half-empty guy at times, but I'm a half-full right now. It's a very good looking (and) a very fast team."

Each year a family is recognized during the awards ceremony. Seven-year-old Ashton Zari, who is battling a chronic kidney disease, and his family were honorary guests this year.

Three paintings designed by Zari were sold during the auction, with two won by Holtmann and Meyer. Both Meyer and Holtmann interacted with Zari following the awards ceremony.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank