By Hayden Cox, Columnist
Furman Athletics confirmed on March 26 that Niko Medved, head coach of the Men’s basketball team for the past four years, has resigned and moved to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. This move came a few days prior to the Paladins competing in the CIT semifinals, the furthest the team has reached into the postseason since the 1974-75 season.
Niko Medved, in his four years, consistently improved Furman’s team. When Medved first arrived, the team had a 9-21 record; now he’s leaving Furman with a team ranked 10th in the conference. The Paladins improved their wins every year, capping off the 2016-2017 season with a 23-11 record and tied for first in the Southern Conference regular season rankings for the first time since 1991. Furthermore, after this record-setting season for the Paladins, Coach Medved was named the SoCon Coach of the Year.
Medved came to Furman after a few different stints as an assistant coach: six years as an assistant at Colorado State following one year at his alma mater, Minnesota, and seven more years as an assistant at Furman following his start as a associate head coach at Macalester for two seasons.
Medved’s resignation came as a bit of a surprise to those that follow the Furman basketball program because Medved made this move after signing a contract extension in January of 2017 that would have supposedly kept him at Furman until 2022, according to Furman University Athletics. The contract extension certainly had fans happy as they had seen their Paladins consistently rise in the SoCon regular season and just miss out on winning the SoCon tournament in the 2015-2016 season.
Medved is replaced by Bob Richey, who served as an assistant on the coaching staff for six years as a position coach for the guards and stepped up as the interim head coach for the CIT semifinal game after Medved resigned. Richey was named the 22nd head coach of the Furman men’s basketball program on Fri., April 7.
In an interview with Furman Sports Information, Richey said “I am truly humbled to be given the opportunity to lead the Furman basketball program moving forward. To have the chance to continue to work at this great university and sustain the relationships I have established is quite an honor. I look forward to continuing the success that we have built on the court, while we recruit and align with the overall mission of Furman University.”
Richey’s success thus far can be seen in his development of back-to-back Southern Conference Players of the year Stephen Croone and Devin Sibley, both guards that Richey developed.
Coach Richey’s experience with the current players and the university should allow him to continue the momentum set by Medved as the Furman men’s basketball team continues to improve and work towards the goal of a SoCon tournament championship and bid to the NCAA tournament next season.