Ohio U hires North Dakota St's Phillips as coach

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ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio University has hired North Dakota State's Saul Phillips as its men's basketball coach, the school announced Sunday.

Phillips led the Bison to an upset of fifth-seeded Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament last month and a record-tying 26 wins for the season. He was 134-84 in seven seasons at North Dakota State.

Phillips was hired to replace Jim Christian, who left after two years to coach Boston College. Christian was 49-22 at Ohio, which had a 25-12 record last season and made it to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals.

"This is an outstanding university in a terrific community," Phillips said in a news release. "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 was one of 15 finalists for the 2014 Hugh Durham Award, given to the top NCAA Division I mid-major men's basketball coach. Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne coach Tony Jasick won.

Phillips was an assistant coach at North Dakota State for three seasons before taking over the head job after Tim Miles went to Colorado State.

Before that, Phillips was the director of basketball operations for three years at Wisconsin under Bo Ryan.

A native of Reedsburg, Wis., Phillips played for four seasons at Wisconsin-Platteville under Ryan and in 1995 captained the Pioneers' undefeated national championship team.

Phillips is married with two sons.