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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 06 2013

Phillips will stay as Bison head basketball coach after interview with Ball State

FARGO – North Dakota State head men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips said he interviewed with Ball State (Ind.) about the vacancy with the Cardinals but that’s as far as it went. He said he’ll be the Bison head coach next season.

The conversation, he said, happened last week and was conducted through a search firm hired by Ball State, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

“It was an in-depth conversation,” Phillips said, “but it wasn’t as formal as you might think.”

Phillips said his decision was based on talks with BSU and the team NDSU has coming back. The Bison will return all five starters and a few key role players from a team that won 24 games this season.

“At the end of the day, I’m really, really happy to be coaching the group I have coming back,” he said. “It would have been devastating for me to walk away from this team.”

Phillips said he would not comment on who ended the talks with BSU or if the position was even offered. He also said talks about his NDSU contract, which expires in June, have already started with athletic director Gene Taylor. He signed a five-year deal in 2008.

“It’s safe to say I have every intention to iron out every detail with Gene anytime he wants,” Phillips said.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia