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Northern State hires Saul Phillips as new head coach

Sports

A few weeks after head coach Paul Sather left Northern State in favor of North Dakota, the Wolves have their new bench boss in Saul Phillips.

Saul Phillips was named the 22nd head coach in Northern State men’s basketball history on Tuesday.  After seven years at NDSU, Phillips has spent the past five seasons at division one Ohio.

“Well I think his understanding of Northern State University basketball, the tradition of excellence that is NSU basketball. Familiarity of this region, you know he’s been up in the Dakota’s for a long time and then someone who could engage in the community is really important,” NSU athletic director Josh Moon said.

Phillips inherits a team that’s won 62 games over the past two seasons, including a national runner-up finish in 2018.

“This isn’t a fixer-upper, this is a maintain and build. Everything from what we do offensively to defensively, I’ve got to take a real hard look and make sure that I know what we’re doing in that capacity. It’s going to be a lot more adjusting to what our guys do well,” Northern State Head Coach Saul Phillips said. 

Phillips joins an exclusive club at Northern State, becoming the Wolves’ sixth head coach since 1946. 

“Well it just tells you how special NSU basketball is. It’s just crazy to think that in today’s world there’s only been 6 coaches in seventy some years. I think he knows the legacy, he respects it and he’s coached with some of these guys,” Moon said.

Phillips carries a career mark of 215-161 to Aberdeen, and will attempt to continue his winning ways, while building on Northern State’s legacy.

“You feel the desire to make sure that this thing moves forward to the right direction. This is built upon the shoulders of some great, great, great coaches and some great, great, great players and again the idea of carrying that forward and making them proud, that means something to me,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ teams have posted five 20-win seasons during his 12 years as a head coach, including three at NDSU and a pair at Ohio.

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