Drake has a new head basketball coach, hiring Furman’s Niko Medved to lead the Bulldogs. Medved’s Paladins are in the midst of their second straight CIT appearance, currently sitting 23-11 overall after finishing a three-way tie for the SoCon regular season title.
Medved is one of the top up-and-comers in the collegiate coaching scene this year, after a complete turnaround of the Furman program. The small Greenville, SC school hired Furman, a former Paladins assistant under Larry Davis, to helm the program in 2013. Medved inherited a last-place, 7-win team and by year three won 19 games and earned a CIT berth.
This year’s team was even better, winning a share of the SoCon title and winning 20+ games for the first time since 1991.
In a release, Drake AD Sandy Hatfield Clubb had this to say: “I am extremely excited to welcome Niko Medved and his family to Drake University. He is a tenacious and passionate recruiter whose vision for success aligns with the tenants of The Bulldog Way touchstone. His strong Midwest ties and his proven success at a highly academic institution make him a perfect fit to lead the Bulldogs.”
While he will be formally introduced in a press conference on Monday, Medved had this to say in the same release: “Drake University’s tremendous reputation partnered with its strong leadership and the thriving Des Moines community make this a special place.”
The Drake job opened up when previous head coach Ray Giacoletti resigned in December. The Bulldogs were just 32-69 in three-plus years under Giacoletti, including a 1-7 start to this past season. Jeff Rutter was interim head coach for the remainder of the season.