FARGO, N.D. (AP) North Dakota State stayed in house for its men's basketball opening, promoting David Richman to head coach on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old Richman has been an assistant for the Bison for the last 11 years. It's the first head coaching job for the Wahpeton native.
Richman takes over for Saul Phillips, who took the top job at Ohio after leading the Bison to their first win in the NCAA tournament this season.
"I couldn't be more excited to sit up here as the new head coach at North Dakota State," Richman said at a press conference.
Athletic director Gene Taylor said it was an easy decision. Taylor said a lot of former coaches and players told him 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 was a Bison assistant for two seasons before being elevated to associate head coach under Phillips in 2007. He previously spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at NDSU and one year as an assistant coach at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
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."
NDSU earned its second trip to the NCAA tournament this past season 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.
Richman graduated from NDSU in 2002 with a degree in physical education. He earned a master's degree in sport and recreation management from NDSU in 2005.