David Richman takes over at NDSU

North Dakota State has promoted assistant David Richman to replace Saul Phillips, the school announced Tuesday.

Phillips -- who led the Bison to their first win in the NCAA tournament, an upset over No. 5 Oklahoma last month -- left to take the head job at Ohio University. Phillips was previously an assistant with the Bison and took the reins when Tim Miles left for Colorado State.

It's the first head-coaching job for Richman.

"I couldn't be more excited to sit up here as the new head coach at North Dakota State," Richman said at a news conference.

Athletic director Gene Taylor said it was an easy decision. Taylor said a lot of former coaches and players told him that if he didn't hire Richman, "it would be the dumbest thing" he ever did.

"He's a longtime NDSU guy," Taylor said. "He's been building his career for this moment."

Richman, 35, had been the associate head coach at North Dakota State for the past seven seasons and has been on the staff for the past 11 years.

Richman said Phillips gave him a "ton of freedom to grow" as his top assistant.

"Why me? You know, that's a question I had to relay to Gene a whole bunch in the last couple days," Richman said. "But I see myself as a fit."

North Dakota State finished the season 26-7 and swept the Summit League regular-season and tournament titles. It earned its second trip to the NCAA tournament and knocked off Oklahoma in the first round. The Bison then lost to San Diego State in their bid to reach the Sweet 16.

Richman said he understands there are high expectations, but he has confidence in his players.

"There are a lot of unknowns, but I wouldn't have taken this job if I didn't believe in those guys," Richman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.