May 7, 2014
ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio University men’s basketball head coach Saul Phillips announced a series of additions to his coaching staff on Wednesday.
Phillips’ assistant coach staff includes former North Dakota State disciples Will Ryan and Jason Kemp, and returning Ohio assistant Aaron Fuss. Jared Swanson also will join the staff as the director of basketball operations.
Ryan comes to Athens after working for seven seasons at North Dakota State under Phillips. During his time in Fargo, Ryan helped lead the Bison to four post-season appearances, including two berths in the NCAA Tournament. NDSU put together a 134-84 record, including a 75-45 mark in Summit League action, during Ryan’s tenure.
In 2013-14, Ryan was instrumental in North Dakota State's historic season, which included a program-record 26 wins and a berth in the NCAA Third Round. The No. 12-seeded Bison upset No. 5 Oklahoma, 80-75 (OT), in the Round of 64.
Ryan is the oldest son of Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan. He played basketball for his father on Wisconsin-Platteville's NCAA Division III national championship teams in 1998 and 1999, and also on his father's team at Milwaukee in 2000-01. He graduated from Milwaukee in December 2002 with a bachelor's degree in educational studies and youth leadership.
Ryan joined the Wisconsin staff in 2002-03 as a volunteer assistant and spent five seasons with the Badgers. He also was head coach for the Wisconsin Swing AAU team in 2005.
“Will genetically inherited his dad’s eye for talent,” Phillips said. “He sees things in players that even I don’t see at first. He finds kids that maybe other people have overlooked, and they become ultra-productive for us. You look at our roster at North Dakota State, and he brought a lot of those guys in. I trust his evaluation of talent and I know he’s going to bring some great players to Ohio.”
Kemp comes to Athens after a memorable one-year stint under head coach Tod Kowalcyzk at Toledo. During the 2013-14 campaign, the Rockets posted a program-record 27 victories and earned a berth in the NIT for the eighth time in school history. Toledo earned a share of the MAC regular season title and opened the season 12-0 for the first time since the 1966-67 season.
Prior to his stint at Toledo, Kemp spent eight seasons on the basketball staff at North Dakota State, first as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons (2005-07) under current Nebraska head coach Tim Miles and for six years (2007-13) as an assistant under Phillips.
“Jason and I worked for many years together at North Dakota State,” Phillips said. “He’s a terrific recruiter and unbelievably good at building relationships with players on the roster. That’s important to me. He’s a trusted friend and his fingerprints are all over the success we had at North Dakota State. Certainly, Jason being in the MAC for a year only strengthened my desire to have him back on my staff for this job.
During his time as an NDSU assistant coach, the Bison posted a 108-77 (.584) overall and 63-43 (.594) Summit League record and advanced to post-season play on three occasions (2009 NCAA, 2012 CBI, 2013 CBI). He also aided in the Bison's transition from NCAA Division II to Division I classification and helped NDSU to an NCAA Tournament appearance in its first year of eligibility for post-season play.
Madison, Wis., native, Kemp was a four-year letter winner in basketball at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He served as a team captain his senior year before joining his former head coach Stu Engen as an assistant coach at Minnesota State Moorhead for the 2004-05 campaign.
Kemp earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2004 and completed a master's degree in sport and recreation management at North Dakota State in December 2006.
A member of the Ohio coaching staff since 2008, Aaron Fuss was promoted to assistant coach during the spring of 2012. He enters his third season in that role and his first under Ohio head coach Saul Phillips.
In his first two seasons as an assistant, and has helped lead the Bobcats to 49 wins and two post-season berths. In his inaugural year as an assistant coach for Ohio in 2012-13, Fuss helped lead the Bobcats to their first MAC regular season championship in 19 years and a berth in the NIT for the first time since 1995. The Bobcats won 14 conference games and tied a school record with seven conference road wins. This past season, the Bobcats posted 25 wins for just the third time in school history and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Post-Season Tournament.
“I didn’t know Aaron when I got here, but after three or four days, I realized he was the smartest guy in the room and it would be important for us to keep him going forward,” Phillips said. “He knows the lay of the land around here and he’s already brought in some quality kids. I like what he brings to the table and most importantly he fits in philosophically with what we’re trying to do.”
Prior to his assistant coach tenure, Fuss spent four seasons as the director of basketball operations under head coach John Groce. During that stretch, the Bobcats earned three victories during two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the 2012 Sweet 16.
Fuss came to Athens after a three-season stint at Ohio State under head coach Thad Matta (2005-07). The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA title game during his final season in Columbus.
Fuss graduated from Ohio State in 2005 and earned his master’s degree in sport management from the University in 2007.
Swanson served as the director of basketball operations at San Jose State during the 2013-14 season, after spending the previous two campaigns in that role under Phillips at North Dakota State (2011-13). He was responsible for team travel, video exchange and coordination, conducting Bison Summer Basketball Camps and game management along with assisting in budgeting and game scheduling.
“Jared is ultra-organized and administratively light years ahead of where I am personally. He completes the equation for us,” Phillips said. “I have the utmost trust in him and he will have the office running smoothly the second he sets foot on campus.”
During the 2010-11 campaign, Swanson served as the administrative assistant for the men's basketball program at Boise State University.
He started his coaching career as a varsity assistant coach for Heritage High School in Vancouver Wash., in 2008-09. He was the varsity head coach at Payson High School in Payson, Ariz., for the 2009-10 season.
Swanson played four seasons professionally in Australia for Warrnambool, Shepparton and Southern Peninsula from 2005-08. He was a two-time league Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Star.
A native of Morris, Minn., Swanson played two seasons (1998-00) at Minnesota State Community and Technical College (Fergus Falls) where he was an all-state and all-region pick. He then played at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., from 2001-03, where he was a first team All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honoree.
Swanson was the team's leading scorer at 15.7 per game and rebounder at 5.5 per game his senior year and ranked 15th in the nation in field goal percentage at .607.
Swanson earned a bachelor's degree in social studies education from Concordia in 2003 and a master's degree in athletic administration from Idaho State in 2011.