New men’s basketball coach Medved excited to be be back

Niko Medved press conference
New CSU men's basketball coach Niko Medved, right, was introduced Friday by voice of the Rams Brian Roth, left, and Joe Parker, director of athletics.

Niko Medved presented CSU director of athletics Joe Parker with an interesting thought this week while being interviewed for the vacant Rams men’s basketball job.

“I said to Joe, I don’t know who else you’re talking to (about this job) but I’m sure no one else – and his wife – can sing the CSU fight song,” Medved said with a laugh Friday during his introductory press conference and fan meet-and-greet.

Medved, 44, then proved his point, leading 200 or so fans in the singing of the fight song – and, sure enough, he knew every word.

“This is a special place to me, and when this job became available I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to go for it,” said Medved, who was a CSU assistant coach from 2007-13 before leaving to become head coach at Furman (2013-17) and Drake (2017-18). “When Joe told me I got the job, I was shaking I was so excited.”

The ‘obvious choice’

Parker interviewed several candidates but said Medved “was my obvious choice.”

“Niko was remarkable throughout the process,” he continued. “The person he is, the passion he brings to the job…he’s someone who makes a difference in the community. He’s spent most of his adult life preparing for this opportunity.”

Medved was an assistant coach under Tim Miles (now head coach at Nebraska) for five years and one under the recently retired Larry Eustachy during one of the most successful runs in CSU basketball history. The Rams earned five consecutive postseason berths during his time, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths in 2012 and ’13. The 2013 team beat Missouri in the first round, notching just the fourth NCAA Tournament victory in school history.

Strong CSU ties

Medved enjoyed considerable success at Furman and Drake, taking over struggling programs and leading them back to prominence. He said it was difficult to leave Drake after just one season but said the lure of CSU, where he met his wife, Erica, was too strong to ignore.

“Everyone who knows me knows CSU is such a special place for me,” Medved said. “I woke up this morning at the Hilton Hotel (near campus) and opened the blinds. There was the ‘A’ and the new stadium, and the rest of campus, and it just hit me: ‘This is real, and it’s amazing.’ ”

Medved signed a five-year contract that will pay him $700,000 annually. He and Erica, who earned an MBA from CSU in 2015, have a 1-year-old daughter, Aly.