Saul Phillips enters his third season as head coach of the Ohio men's basketball program in 2016-17.
Ohio posted 23 victories in 2015-16 -- including an 11-7 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The 2015-16 Ohio squad matched the 1998-99 team for the biggest turnaround in program history. The Bobcats improved by 13 wins under Phillips after posting just 10 victories in 2014-15. The 2015-16 Bobcats matched the 1982-83 team for the sixth-most wins in a single season in program history. After earning the No. 2 seed in the 2016 MAC Tournament presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com and a bye to Cleveland, Ohio defeated No. 7-seeded Northern Illinois, 79-62, on March 10 in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 3-seeded Buffalo in the semifinals the following day, 88-74. The Bobcats made their 22nd postseason appearance in program history and advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 College Basketball Invitational after beating Albany in overtime in the first round, 94-90, on March 16 and knocking off UNCG, 72-67, on March 21 in the quarterfinals. Ohio's season ended two days later with a 77-72 defeat at the hands of Morehead State.
Ohio's 2,746 points scored in 2015-16 ranked as the second-most in a single season in program history while its 937 field goals made tied for second. The Bobcats set a program record with 296 three-point field goals made. The team's 38.6 percent three-point field goal percentage was good for second-best in program history. Ohio surpassed the 90-point mark five times in 2015-16 and eclipsed the 80-point mark 16 times.
Senior forward Antonio Campbell was named a 2015-16 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America selection, the 2016 MAC Player of the Year, a 2015-16 National Association of Basketball Coaches Division I First Team All-District 14 honoree and a 2016 First Team All-MAC pick. Redshirt junior guard Jaaron Simmons earned 2015-16 NABC Division I Second Team All-District 14 honors. The Second Team All-MAC selection's 275 assists last year went down as the most in both program and MAC history. Guard Jordan Dartis garnered All-MAC Freshman Team selection for his efforts last season after setting the program's single-season record with a 47.9 percent three-point field goal percentage
The Phillips era began with a 73-47 victory over Appalachian State on Nov. 15, 2014, at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats posted a record-setting 99-78 win over Big East Conference foe DePaul on Dec. 23, 2014, in the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic to highlight non-conference play in 2014-15. Ohio set a Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic record with 99 points -- the most since Indiana State edged Ole Miss, 87-85, in overtime in 2012.
Ohio's 2015 Mid-American Conference slate featured home victories over East Division rivals Miami, Akron and eventual league tournament champion Buffalo. Phillips picked up his first MAC win on Jan. 21 -- an 82-73 triumph over Ball State in Muncie, Ind. Ohio closed the regular season by storming past Miami, 95-65, in a 'Battle of the Bricks' Senior Day clash on March 6 at the Convo. The Bobcats' 30-point win over the RedHawks marked Ohio's largest margin of victory in the 'Battle of the Bricks' since beating Miami by a 61-20 count in 1940-41 in Oxford. The Bobcats were scorching from behind the arc, converting a season-high 17-of-31 three-point attempts. Ohio's 17 three pointers made marked the program's most since knocking down 17 on Jan. 20, 2000 at Central Michigan, which ranks as the second-most in school history.
Senior forward Maurice Ndour garnered Second Team All-MAC honors for a second straight season while redshirt senior guard Javarez Willis earned Honorable Mention All-MAC recognition for the first time. Ndour competed in the 2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League for the New York Knicks, where he averaged 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 block, 1.0 steal and 28.3 minutes over five games -- including four starts. Ndour earned a deal with the Dallas Mavericks for his efforts.
Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus named Phillips the 18th head coach in men's basketball program history on April 6, 2014. He begins the 2016-17 campaign with a career head coaching record of 167-116 (.590).
Phillips came to Athens following seven seasons at North Dakota State, where he guided the Bison to a 134-84 record (.615) -- including a 75-45 mark in The Summit League -- and NCAA Championship appearances in 2009 and '14. He departed Fargo with the fourth-most wins by a head coach in program history. Under Phillips' watch, the Bison produced 14 All-Summit League selections.
During the 2013-14 campaign, Phillips led North Dakota State to a 26-7 overall record -- including a 12-2 mark in league play -- and a Summit League title en route to earning a 2014 NCAA Championship berth. The No. 12-seeded Bison knocked off No. 5-seeded Oklahoma in overtime, 80-75 in the Second Round. Phillips garnered Summit League Coach of the Year laurels for the second time while senior guard Taylor Braun earned Summit League Player of the Year honors.
Phillips directed North Dakota State to its first Summit League crown and NCAA Division I Championship appearance in 2009 as the Bison went 26-7 overall and 16-2 in league play. The 2009 Summit League Coach of the Year was one of 10 finalists for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year award. Senior guard Ben Woodside received Summit League Player of the Year under Phillips -- the first Bison to ever earn such honors.
NDSU had been on the rise since graduating four starters from that NCAA team. The Bison won 11, 14 and 17 games before a 24-win season and Summit League title game appearance in 2013. NDSU played in the College Basketball Invitational for the second straight year.
Phillips was an assistant coach at North Dakota State for three seasons before being elevated to the head job when Tim Miles was hired by Colorado State.
Before coming to North Dakota State in 2004, Phillips was the director of basketball operations for three years at Wisconsin, where he handled the day-to-day scheduling, coordinated travel, budgeting and on-campus recruiting for Bo Ryan's staff.
Phillips spent two years as an assistant coach under Ryan at Milwaukee (1999-01) and two years as an assistant at Lake Superior State (1997-99) under Marty McDermott.
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 Ryan and was captain of the Pioneers' undefeated national championship team in 1995.
He went on to become a graduate assistant at Wayne (Neb.) State for one season under Greg McDermott.
Phillips and his wife, Nicole, have one daughter, Jordan, and two sons, Charlie and Benjamin.