Phillips Hired at Northern State

Aberdeen, S.D. – Saul Phillips was announced as the 22nd head men’s basketball coach in Northern State University program history Tuesday at a press conference from the Barnett Center. Phillips comes to Northern State after Division I head coaching stops at North Dakota State University and Ohio University. He is just the sixth head coach for the Wolves since 1946.

Phillips takes the helm of the Northern State program after spending the past five seasons at Ohio University, and previous seven at North Dakota State. He went 81-77 overall leading the Bobcats and 134-84 with the Bison. Phillips will look to continue the strong tradition of Northern State basketball, as the Wolves have won back-to-back NSIC Conference Championships and are the NCAA Division II National Attendance leaders for the last 11 seasons, averaging well over 3,000 fans per game.

Phillips led the Ohio University Bobcats to the CBI semifinal round in his tenure with the program. OU saw 11 all-conference performances in five seasons under Phillips including one MAC Player of the Year honor and one MAC Freshman of the Year award

In his seven seasons at North Dakota State, Phillips led the Bison to two Summit League Championships, two Summit League Tournament Championships, and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. A total of 14 Bison earned all-conference accolades in his seven seasons, while four were named to the NABC All-District team and two tallied All-American accolades.

Phillips directed NDSU to their first Summit League crown and NCAA Division I Championship appearance in 2009; he was named the Summit League Coach of the Year and was one of ten finalists for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year award. Senior Ben Woodside received Summit League Player of the Year honors that season, the first in NDSU program history. The 2013-14 campaign brought similar honors for the program winning their second Summit League Championship and a berth to the NCAA Tournament. In addition to being named the league coach of the year, senior Taylor Braun earned the league player of the year award.

The Bison advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in his final season with the program, posting a 26-7 record overall, and 12-2 mark in Summit League action. The No. 12-seeded Bison knocked off No. 5-seeded Oklahoma in overtime, 80-75 in the Second Round. He left his legacy on the program as the fourth winningest coach in school history.

Phillips began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at NSIC counterpart Wayne State College as a member of Greg McDermott’s staff. From there he made assistant coaching stops at Lake Superior and Milwaukee, before taking the Director of Basketball Operations post at Wisconsin. With the Badgers, Phillips handled the day-to-day scheduling, coordinated travel, budgeting and on-campus recruiting for Bo Ryan’s staff. Phillips then joined former Northern State assistant, Tim Miles as an assistant at NDSU. He spent three years on Miles’ staff before being elevated into his first head-coaching role in 2007.

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 Bo Ryan and was captain of the Pioneers’ undefeated national championship team in 1995.

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


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