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ATHENS, Ohio -- Fourth-year Ohio men's basketball head coach Saul Phillips recently participated in 'Challenged By Choice' -- an event put on by the Athens City Commission on Disabilities in which persons from the Athens community are invited to personally experience having a disability at their place of employment.
The purpose of the experience is to raise personal awareness and community awareness of the frustrations, challenging obstacles, personal limitation to cope, accommodations, supports and training needed and business, employer, family, friends and community responsibilities regarding citizens who have a disability.
Phillips learned at the orientation to the disability simulation on that he would be visually impaired. The following day, Phillips conducted his morning routine and went to work dealing with the challenges of being visually impaired -- including conducting afternoon workouts for the Bobcats at the Convocation Center.
"I think I just have a lot more patience and empathy for anyone that has a disability walking a mile in their shoes," said Phillips of the experience.
After completing his day living with a mobility disability, Phillips had the opportunity to speak about his experience as part of a Disabilities Speak panel.
Ohio enters its fourth season under the direction of Phillips in 2017-18. Phillips has led the Bobcats to 53 wins over the past three seasons.
Ohio is coming off a 20-11 (11-7 MAC) 2016-17 season in which it recorded 20 overall wins for the second year in a row and achieved a second-straight 11-win Mid-American Conference campaign. The Bobcats locked down the No. 2 seed in the 2017 MAC Tournament presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com for the second year in a row, earning a bye to the quarterfinals. Ohio topped No. 7-seeded Toledo in the quarters, 67-66, before falling to No. 6-seed and eventual tournament champion Kent State, 68-66, in the league semifinals.
The Bobcats will play in front of their fans for the first time in 2017-18 on Nov. 4 with a 3:30 p.m. ET home exhibition game against Capital. Ohio opens the regular season on Nov. 11 against Alabama A&M. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.