Ohio taps Phillips as new men’s basketball coach

Mar 11, 2014; Sioux Falls, SD, USA; North Dakota State Bisons head coach Saul Phillips celebrates with the team on the floor after the game against the Fort Wayne Mastodons in the championship game of the Summit Conference tournament at Sioux Falls Sports. North Dakota State defeated Fort Wayne 60-57.

Ohio University has its 18th men’s basketball coach after hiring Saul Phillips from North Dakota State late Saturday night.

Phillips led the Bison to unprecedented success during his seven seasons in Fargo, including the program’s first Summit League championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 2009. They won the Summit League again this season and knocked off Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament round of 32.

Via a school release, Phillips said he is extremely excited about the further he sees in Athens.

"I am elated to have a chance to add to its rich tradition," he 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 counts a pair of current Big Ten coaches among his former bosses, having worked for Nebraska’s Tim Miles at NDSU and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan at two previous stops.

A native of Reedsville, Wisc., Phillips played for Ryan at Wisconsin-Platteville and later spent two years as an assistant under Ryan at Milwaukee and three years as director of basketball operations for him at Wisconsin.

Phillips leaves NDSU with a seven-year record of 134-84.

He takes over an Ohio program that was coached for the past two seasons by Jim Christian, who resigned April 3 to accept the head coaching position at Boston College.

The Bobcats were 49-22 under Christian and in 2013 won a share of the MAC regular season title. They were 25-12 this past season and played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament after making the NIT in his first year at the helm.

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