Phillips To Ohio

The coaching carousel has now fully engulfed Fargo, first football, then women’s basketball and now men’s basketball. Jason Arkley from the Athens Messenger first reported late Saturday night that Ohio University was set to hire Saul Phillips as its new men’s basketball coach.

Saul Phillips is heading to Ohio to become the new head coach of the Bobcats, leaving the Bison after seven years.

Phillips heads to Athens, Ohio and inherits a team that won 25 games this past season and head coach Jim Christian left earlier this week for the Boston College job. The Ohio job has been a clear level jumping job for the the last two coaches, John Groce took Ohio to the Sweet 16, then left for Illinois, and now Christian heads to the ACC with Boston College. Christian had a base salary of 425 thousand, he was the highest paid coach in the MAC, now Phillips likely won’t be paid that much,but we can expect a serious pay increase when we get the official announcement, likely on Sunday.

UPDATE: ESPN reports that Phillips has signed a five year contract at Ohio that will pay him 550 thousand dollars a year, Phillips told me that the deal came together late Saturday night.

Here’s an official statement from Phillips on the Ohio website: “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.”

Athletic Director Jim Schaus: “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!”

SUNDAY UPDATE: Spoke with Gene Taylor from Arlington this morning, told me he was hopeful when some jobs were filled that perhaps Phillips would be safe, but knew when the Ohio job opened and they were going to visit with him, “it be hard not to hire him.” Taylor added that by university law they have to open the job up, but also will visit with associate head coach Dave Richman, says on him: “Dave’s been part of two staffs here, he’s a had a big impact, certainly talk with Dave, very impressive young man, he’s had a lot to do with coaching success.”

As for NDSU, Phillips leaves with a 134-84 career record, two NCAA Tournament trips, a NCAA Tourney win and three consecutive postseason trips. The question now becomes on who will take over the NDSU program? This is a good job, far better than when Phillips took over in 2007. I have to think associate head coach Dave Richman will get a long and serious look from Gene Taylor, he’s been Saul’s right hand man and from what I’ve been told, wants the job badly. We’ll see on that front, more coming tomorrow, but now both basketball jobs are open at NDSU.


17 thoughts on “Phillips To Ohio

  1. The men’s job will be filled in a minute, the women’s job looks nowhere near a hire.

    That pretty much sums up the state of the two programs.

    It’ll be shocking if it’s not Richman. Think I said when Craig Smith got the USD job it meant that it was a lock Dave would be the guy here otherwise Smith would have waited on a better job at NDSU.

    • How would have the NDSU job been better than USD? Smith has an opportunity to build up a team and take it to the next level. Get off your high horse.

      • NDSU is the coaching job, whether basketball or football. USD is the little brother to NDSU.

      • Uhh, seriously? Both are getting new arenas, but one has been to two NCAA Tournaments since 2009 and the other has yet to post a winning overall record since joining the Summit League. They won’t be as good next year but they’ve still got plenty of talent back to probably contend while USD is a full rebuild. That and Smith was a former NDSU assistant.

  2. NDSU yet another stepping stone. Too bad for the Bison, but great for Saul. Hopefully he handled his move with more class regarding his players here than Bohl did. I would hate to learn that they found out on Twitter like the football team did.

    • Sounds like he called every player before it was announced. Saul is a class act.

    • Too Bad for NDSU….ah not really. Yeah, it always sucks to lose a Coach, but when your coaches are leaving for huge paydays it screams/proves NDSU is a pathway/pipeline for success. Do you really think SU is going to be hurting to fill this spot. Not a chance! RELOAD!

      This hire just helped SU more than it hurt it!

  3. What do you mean when you say Gene said by University law the job has to be opened? I thought if the Bison hire from within it didn’t have to be open. That is how Saul and Klieman were hired.

    As for all the recruits we know of are they all signed to play for the Bison?

  4. On the women’s front…Muffet McGraw is gonna take Notre Dame to their third final four in three years. Like the one guy on here who listed her as a candidate a few weeks ago, I can’t wait to see her come to Fargo!!!!!


  5. Anybody see the bit on Saturday Night Live with the fake commercial? Marshall had a clip and they had Saul front and center. Pretty funny. Google ” Best of the White Guys.”

  6. Great move for Saul. I wonder how big his eyes got when he saw the contract. He is a winner and will do well.

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