Northern State Hires Saul Phillips As New Men’s Basketball Coach
Former NDSU & Ohio Coach Is Sixth Head Coach For Wolves Since 1946
ABERDEEN, S.D. — Most Division 2 schools that lose a coach to Division One and wouldn’t be able to find a successor from that level.
Northern State is the exception, and they believe they’ve found an exceptional coach in Saul Phillips.
“You don’t get as many great coaches coming through here without having something special about you. To be a part of that tradition, a part of that legacy, to try to push it forward, that is extremely appealing.” NSU Head Coach Saul Phillips says.
Phillips played for Bo Ryan and was a Division Three National Champion. His coaching career began at Wayne State and eventually took him to Fargo with Doland native Tim Miles, whom he would succeed as NDSU head coach, developing deep ties to the Dakotas.
“This area of the country was very good to us. Our family was happy here. So it makes for an easier transition.” Phillips says.
Over 13 years he won more than 200 games in Division One, twice taking NDSU to the NCAA Tournament and leading them to an upset of Oklahoma in 2014. After being let go at Ohio after five seasons, athletic director Josh Moon saw Saul as a perfect fit in Aberdeen.
“His background recruiting in South Dakota for NDSU and being at Wayne State in Nebraska and being from Wisconsin, I think it just fit regionally of what we needed to do to keep this program moving forward.” Moon says.
Though most coaching hires are made to fix broken programs, Northern State couldn’t be any healthier. They have a rich tradition and history, lead Division Two in attendance and are in the midst of one of the best eras in program history.
“I’ll stack this program against any program, Division One or Division Two, this is a great program. We can absolutely push the bar forward by continuing to win but, again, I think the most important thing that we need to do is make sure that we observe the traditions and some of the things they do well here and continue that.” Phillips says.
“A lot of different levels of experience. He’s coached in this league as a GA, he’s coached in the Summit League, he’s from around here and yeah, I just think we’re really fortunate to have a guy like Saul.” NSU Guard Gabe King says.
As just the sixth head coach at Northern since 1946, it’s a good bet that he’ll be the latest in a long line of successful Wolves coaches.
“Coach Meyer has got a granite bust in the office as you walk in. I’m hoping for a sock puppet right next to it!” Saul says.
For more on Phillips, you can read NSU’s official press release regarding the hire HERE .