Medved makes his return to Williams as Gophers host the Rams

The former Minnesota assistant took a job at Colorado State at the end of last season.

Zach Eisendrath

While athletics director Joel Maturi was finalizing a deal to make Tubby Smith the next Minnesota men’s basketball coach last March, Niko Medved was searching for a new job.

Just hours before Smith was introduced as the Gophers’ new head coach, Medved, an assistant on interim coach Jim Molinari’s staff last season, quietly accepted an assistant position on the Colorado State coaching staff.

Nine months later, Medved will make a similarly quiet return to his hometown campus when his new team, the Rams, challenge his old team, the Gophers, Saturday night at Williams Arena.

Medved, a St. Paul native, has strong ties to the University.

Last season he was an associate coach for former coach Dan Monson, before being upgraded to an assistant coach for the Gophers under interim coach Jim Molinari seven games into the team’s tumultuous 9-22 season.

Medved, who grew up a diehard Gophers fan, said working for the Minnesota men’s basketball staff was a dream come true, he just wishes things would have ended with more victories.

“For me personally, it was bittersweet,” he said. “It was great to be home, it was great to coach at the Barn. And I loved coach Mo, but we knew it was a temporary situation.”

Medved, who has also coached at Furman University and Division III Macalester, started his journey to an eventual coaching career in 1992, as student-manager for Clem Haskin’s Gophers, a job he had for four seasons.

He said he will always consider the University a “special place.”

“I grew up there. It’s home. Williams Arena will always have extra meaning for me,” Medved said.

Scouting the Gophers

Now an assistant on new Colorado State coach Tim Miles’ staff, it is Medved’s job to study tape of upcoming opponents of the Rams.

He said he has watched every game the Gophers (5-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) have played this season and sees stark differences from the team he coached last season.

“They are playing hard for Tubby. He’s there and he’s in charge,” Medved said. “They are doing a lot of things well.”

Noteworthy

Medved said Colorado State (4-3, 0-0) is in “major rebuilding” mode. The Rams’ new staff has only eight scholarship players and only two players from the previous coaching staff, he said.

CSU enters Saturday’s game after a 44-40 win over Denver on Wednesday night.