ABERDEEN, S.D. — A national audience will get a sneak peek into the house hunting adventures of Saul and Nicole Phillips in the coming months.
Saul, 46, is Northern State University's new head men's basketball coach. Nicole, 44, is a columnist for Forum Communications and public speaker spreading the word about kindness. Their search for a new home will be featured on "House Hunters," an HGTV show.
Saul, the former North Dakota State basketball coach, has appeared on national television several times during big games. Nicole, a former TV anchor, hammed it up with host Drew Carey and won a car on the "The Price is Right" earlier this year.
Network officials haven't set the air date for the show yet, but film crews were in Aberdeen last week recording parts of the show. It was the first of two visits the production team will make to town.
While they can't disclose which house they picked and want to keep the TV magic alive, Nicole said their quest for a home in Aberdeen wasn't the typical search for a particular style. Instead, they were looking for a feeling.
"We didn't necessarily want a house that was large or extravagant," she said. "What we needed was to be able to walk into a home and really feel the love that had been in the home previously."
Nicole said that feeling can be elusive.
"Sometimes you walk into a home and it just welcomes you, and that's what we were looking for," she said.
The two paused and refrained from answering whether they found that special feeling. That's something people will have to find out when the show airs, they said.
The Phillips moved their family of five with their dog Dakota from Ohio after Saul was hired. There were a few must-have items for the house.
They knew they wanted a fenced-in backyard for their dog, a home that lets in plenty of light, and a common area for their family, which includes their daughter, Jordan, 15; and two sons, Charlie, 13, and Ben, 9. Nicole said they were also looking for an area with sidewalks where their kids could ride their bikes.
Their Realtor was Andrea Holinka of First Premier Realty, who is the wife of another Northern coach. Nicole said that common ground made it easier when they talked about the need for a space where Saul could review film of players, games and practices.
She said she sought out the opportunity to be on the show because she thought it would be fun, and it has been.
"It's been kind of a wild ride," Nicole said.
The Phillips say they hope the show not only tells their story, but Aberdeen's.
"I hope it tells the story of Aberdeen in a positive light," Saul said. "I think there's a great community here to talk about. It’s kinda my line of work anyways to spread the word about Aberdeen, Northern State. It’s a place a lot of people don’t know about that they really enjoy."
Nicole said after living in Fargo for 10 years before moving to Ohio, it already feels like home being back in the Dakotas.
"For me it's a really nice feeling," she said. "People are hard-working, reliable and kind. That's an important set of values when you're raising kids here."
As for Aberdeen, she'd never been to town before Saul got the job, but she already likes it.