Impact Assistant Coaches in the MVC
(St. Louis, MO) – Changes are happening in the Missouri Valley Conference. Not only is Valparaiso replacing Wichita State, and Niko Medved is the newest coach at Drake, but there have been significant coaching hires. Assistant coaches are making their mark in the Valley.
We are just getting to know the coaching staff at Valpo, and Medved’s staff is mostly new to us as well. After being hired at Drake, Medved’s top priority was hiring a staff that would reflect his style and would build the culture he desires to produce in Des Moines.
JR Blount was retained from the former staff. One of Minnesota’s prep coaching legends, Dave Thorson was brought to the staff. Medved told godrakebulldogs.com that the nine-time state champion brings great experience and credibility to the Bulldog staff.
“He’s one of the best coaches in the history of Minnesota and one of the best coaches I know,” said Medved. “He’s a tremendous leader and communicator who develops players in all areas of their lives. His vision is in direct alignment with my vision and the mission of Drake University.”
Another new member of the Bulldog leadership team is former Northern Iowa great Ali Farokhmanesh. His legendary heroics during the Panthers’ run to the 2013 Sweet Sixteen put his face on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Medved says Farokhmanesh’s name recognition is helpful, but he is also a great teacher of the game, and has a great relationship with players.
Indiana State took a coaching hit this spring when Lou Gudino left to join former Wichita State assistant Chris Jans at New Mexico State. Filling Gudino’s role as Associate Head Coach in Terre Haute came from within. Marcus Belcher is another former Valley great.
While at Southern Illinois, Belcher was the starting point guard during the Salukis’ 2002 Sweet Sixteen run. He led the team in assists and since graduation has coached at MVC posts (SIU and Evansville). Head coach Greg Lansing believes Belcher is a coaching star in the making.
Loyola seems to lose an assistant coach to a ‘money conference’ program every year. This year the departing coach was Bennie Seltzer. Replacing the Washington State bound Seltzer, is Drew Valentine. The older brother of Chicago Bulls guard Denzell Valentine was a highly productive player at the Horizon League’s Oakland University. Valentine has spent time coaching his alma mater and at Michigan State.
Head coach Porter Moser says Valentine has a bright future.
Missouri State hold-over Matt Sligh continues to receive high praise from Bears’ head coach Paul Lusk. Sligh is beginning his third season in Springfield, Missouri after a successful two-year stint as the head coach at Motlow College.
Lusk brags about his entire staff, but in particular Sligh who has been a key part of the Bears’ recent recruiting successes. Lusk goes on to describe the abilities of newcomer Abdul-Hakim Fofana from the small African nation of Burkina Faso.
Valley head coaches routinely talk about creating the proper culture, developing players and building programs. These assistants and others in the MVC are making a difference.