Photo courtesy of ESPN
After only one season, former Drake University men’s basketball head coach Niko Medved has left the Bulldogs for a head coaching position at Colorado State University.
On Mar. 23 at 9:30 a.m., Medved called and delivered his decision to Brian Hardin, the newly appointed Drake athletic director. In a press conference Thursday evening, Hardin relayed a timeline of events leading up to Medved’s morning phone call, painting the picture that the news on the other line came as quite a shock.
When Medved first heard of the interview opportunity a couple of weeks ago, he notified Hardin, and the pair of them had multiple conversations throughout the week about whether or not Medved should pursue the interview, especially considering the fact he had been at Drake for less than a year and produced results that far surpassed expectations in so little time.
The following Tuesday, Mar. 21, Medved interviewed with CSU but called Hardin afterward and said the right feelings were missing and that he wished to stay at Drake and build something great on the foundation of the successful 2017-18 season.
According to Hardin, that was the point where Medved decided to withdraw from the head coaching search. The pair celebrated upon Medved’s return to Iowa and shared sentiments and goals that included becoming the best team in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Two days later, Medved’s final decision had changed drastically. Hardin said CSU followed up with Medved and pushed the job, resulting in Medved’s acceptance.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding, right?’” Hardin said Thursday.
In addition, it was announced Monday that Medved took both JR Blout and Ali Farokmanesh with him to CSU, two of his former assistant coaches at Drake. In college, Blout played for Loyola–Chicago and Farokmanesh played for University of Northern Iowa, both schools in Drake’s Missouri Valley Conference.
Both Hardin and President Marty Martin were responsible for delivering the blow to the men’s basketball team. The two frontmen of the Drake athletics program have already begun looking for replacements. Until the conclusion of the search, the interim head coach position will be held by Dave Thorson, who was hired onto the coaching staff last April after a successful bout of coaching high school ball in Minnesota.
The effect on the 2018 class of Drake recruits is still unknown, but it is expected for other schools to start gauging interest of the big-name commits. However, Hardin stated that, to his knowledge, no current Drake players have voiced intentions to transfer.