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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Saul Phillips leaves NDSU for Ohio University

North Dakota State Bison head coach Saul Phillips instructs against the San Diego State Aztecs in the first half of a men's college basketball game during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota State will have first-year coaches in football, women's basketball and now men's basketball next season.

Men's hoops coach Saul Phillips left NDSU on Saturday night to become the next head coach at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

"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 goes 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 first game 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," Ohio athletic director Jim 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 133-83 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.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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