NCAA News Wire

Ohio hires ND State’s Phillips as coach

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Ohio University reached an agreement on Saturday with North Dakota State’s Saul Phillips to fill its head coaching vacancy, according to multiple reports.

Phillips confirmed that he is replacing Jim Christian, who left Ohio on Thursday after two seasons to take the Boston College job.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

In seven seasons at North Dakota State, Phillips led the Bison to a 118-71 record and two Summit League championships. This season, North Dakota State went 26-6 and upended fifth-seeded Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to fourth-seeded San Diego State.

Phillips, who was mentioned as a candidate for several other coaching vacancies across the country, is closely tied to Wisconsin Bo Ryan. He played for Ryan at Wisconsin-Platteville and then worked for five years under him as an assistant at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in Madison.

Ohio finished with 25 wins this season under Christian, who replaced John Groce two years ago as Bobcats coach. Groce is now the head coach at Illinois.