College basketball coaching and athletics fundraising veteran Phil Ness is headed to Indiana State University to fill a key role in athletics development for the Sycamores.

Ness, the winningest men’s basketball coach in Allegheny College history, has also spent 10 years as a major gift officer with the Meadville, Penn., school.

He will join Indiana State University Foundation in January as the associate vice president for development, athletics, ISU Foundation President Ron Carpenter announced today.

Ness will work with the Sycamore Athletic Foundation (SAF) to advance the needs and initiatives of ISU intercollegiate athletics.

“The selection committee and I were most impressed with Phil’s ability to reach out and connect to alumni, his assertiveness and perseverance,” Carpenter said. “All of these attributes were confirmed by people in higher education and athletics that he has worked with throughout his career.”

This past year, Ness secured more than $2 million in support for Allegheny and cultivated nearly 200 alumni. He was also a part of the team that exceeded the college’s “Tradition and Transformation” campaign goal by $10 million, raising $115 million for endowment growth and capital projects. Among the campaign’s capital projects included the renovation of Allegheny’s outdoor athletic facilities.

“His enthusiastic approach demonstrates we have the right person to build on recent successes in Sycamore athletics and maximize our momentum and goals for growing financial support to enhance our position as a dynamic Division I university,” Carpenter said.

Prior to his development role, Ness lead the Gators basketball team from 1989-2002. He remains the all-time leader in victories at the college and fostered a 98 percent graduation rate among his student-athletes.

“Having walked in coaching shoes, I think the Sycamore coaching staff will be able to quickly help me to understand their needs and how transformational gifts will be for their programs,” Ness said. “We can carry that message to the loyal alumni and friends of our programs and build on the successful fundraising initiatives currently in place.”

Ness will lead the SAF and a team of fundraising professionals dedicated to the engagement and support of intercollegiate athletics at Indiana State. The SAF, established in 2010, is the athletic philanthropic support division of the ISU Foundation.

Athletics fundraising efforts at Indiana State not only include the current athletics development staff but also the university’s athletic department and the SAF advisory board, which is comprised of influential booster and volunteer leaders, Carpenter said.

“Phil will work with all of these constituents to better advance our alumni and communities’ support of our already successful ISU teams,” Carpenter said.

Ness said he accepted his new role because of the excitement he found at Indiana State.

“The people I have met so far are very energizing and enthusiastic. Their passion for Sycamore athletics is contagious. I look forward to helping Ron Prettyman and his staff and coaches give ISU student athletes the opportunity to compete successfully at the highest level possible,” he said. “Working with the foundation and athletics staffs in the months to come, we can develop a plan for success in athletics development. A comprehensive plan will afford our student athletes, our coaches and our fans the opportunity for consistent championship experiences.”

Prettyman is excited about Ness’ addition to the SAF team, noting many professionals regard him as passionate about intercollegiate athletics and enhancing the opportunities available for student-athletes.

“He works hard, has a high level of commitment and has a personality that will win the hearts of the Sycamore faithful,” Prettyman said.

Ness is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., where he played basketball. He was inducted into the Lafayette College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. He will begin his role with Indiana State on Jan. 2.

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