Farokhmanesh returns to MVC as assistant at Drake

DES MOINES — Ali Farokhmanesh is back in the Valley.

Drake University’s new men’s basketball coach Niko Medved on Friday announced the hiring of Farokhmanesh as an assistant, reeling in the former Northern Iowa Panther point guard from his former post at the University of Nebraska.

Farokhmanesh, 29, is a 2006 graduate of Iowa City West High School and a 2010 Northern Iowa grad, where he helped the Panthers to a 53-16 record in two years, two NCAA Tournament appearances and the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance after an iconic upset win against top overall seed Kansas.

Farokhmanesh spent the last three season on Nebraska’s coaching staff, most recently as the director of player relations and development.

“I am very excited to return to Iowa and the Missouri Valley Conference,” said Farokhmanesh. “I have so much respect for coach Medved and the programs he has developed, so this opportunity is very special for me. I look forward to helping Niko build the Bulldog basketball program and to being part of the Drake family.”

Farokhmanesh played one year each at Indian Hills Community College and Kirkwood CC before transferring to Northern Iowa for his final two seasons. He’s best remembered for making a pivotal 3-pointer in the waning moments of the Panthers’ 69-67 victory against Kansas to get UNI into the Sweet 16 — a moment captured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

With Drake, Farokhmanesh will get to be an on-court coach and leave campus to recruit for the first time.

“As a coach, Ali is the entire package,” said Medved. “He has tremendous character, is a great communicator, he knows how to teach the game and is a tireless worker. Ali has deep roots here in Iowa and had a storied career as a player in the Missouri Valley. He has also developed many important recruiting ties during his time at Nebraska and will hit the ground running.”

After graduating from Northern Iowa, Farokhmanesh played four seasons of professional basketball abroad. He played in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland before beginning his coaching career with Nebraska in 2014.