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Press release announcing Saul Phillips going to Ohio

by Mike McFeely

Here is the press release announcing Saul Phillips, who led North Dakota State to the round of 32 in the NCAA basketball tournament, as the new head coach at Ohio University.

Saul Phillips Named Ohio Men's Basketball Head Coach

ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University Director of Athletics Jim Schaus has named former North Dakota State University head coach Saul Phillips as the Bobcats' next men's basketball head coach. With seven years of head coaching experience, Phillips becomes the 18th head coach in school history.

"I am extremely excited about the future of Ohio basketball and I am elated to have a chance to add to its rich tradition," Phillips said. "This is an outstanding university in a terrific community. I share the vision of the administration as to what the enormous potential is of this storied program. I simply cannot wait to start working with our players and helping them reach their potential. I want our fans and my players to know that I will pour maximum energy and enthusiasm into Bobcat basketball."

Phillips comes to Athens, following one of the most memorable seasons in NDSU history. During the 2013-14 campaign, Phillips guided the Bison to a 26-7 record, a Summit League Championship and a 80-75 overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

"The hiring of Saul Phillips as the next head men's basketball coach for Ohio is indeed a tremendous hire for us," Schaus said. "I am just ecstatic to be able to welcome a coach with his experience and success to Bobcat Nation. Saul is passionate, energetic, a great communicator and is inspiring. He has a reputation as an excellent recruiter and players coach. His North Dakota State team had many big wins including a win over Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. I am confident about Saul helping us build Bobcat Basketball to new heights of excellence. I can't for him wait to get started!"

Phillips spent seven seasons as the head men's basketball coach at North Dakota State.

During his seven seasons at NDSU, Phillips posted a 134-84 record, including a 75-45 mark in The Summit League. The Bison finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 26-7 overall record and a 12-2 league mark.

Phillips directed North Dakota State to its first Summit League championship and NCAA Division I tournament appearance in 2009. He was one of 10 finalists for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year award.

NDSU has been on the rise since graduating four starters from that NCAA team. The Bison won 11, 14 and 17 games before a 24-win season and Summit League title game appearance in 2013. NDSU played in the College Basketball Invitational for the second straight year.

Phillips was an assistant coach at North Dakota State for three seasons before being elevated to the head job when Tim Miles was hired by Colorado State.

Before coming to North Dakota State in 2004, Phillips was the director of basketball operations for three years at Wisconsin, where he handled the day-to-day scheduling, coordinated travel, budgeting and on-campus recruiting for Bo Ryan's staff.

Phillips spent two years as an assistant coach under Ryan at Milwaukee (1999-01) and two years as an assistant at Lake Superior State (1997-99) under Marty McDermott.

A native of Reedsburg, Wis., Phillips graduated from Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in business and psychology in 1996. He played basketball for four seasons at UWP under Ryan and was captain of the Pioneers' undefeated national championship team in 1995.

He went on to become a graduate assistant at Wayne (Neb.) State for one season under Greg McDermott.

Phillips and his wife, Nicole, have one daughter, Jordan, and two sons, Charlie and Benjamin.