Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Nate Tomlinson has been hired as the team’s director of player development.

Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle is filling out the Buffaloes’ staff with one of his former players.

On Thursday, CU announced that Nate Tomlinson has been hired as the team’s director of player development. He replaces Sean Kearney, who held that position for six years before leaving last month to become an associate commissioner with the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Tomlinson, who played for the Buffs from 2008-12, joined the staff last fall as a coaching intern. He will now be a full-time member of Boyle’s staff.

“This was a win-win situation,” Boyle said in a CU press release. “Sean had a great opportunity to advance his career and move onward and upward, and it created an opening for Nate, who is one of the most passionate and loyal Buffs that I know of. His energy and enthusiasm will help our program get better.”

Like Kearney, Tomlinson’s duties will include, according to CU, scheduling of games and serving as a liaison with several constituents including academics and community service.

“He will have the opportunity to connect with the players off the court and be a great mentor for them,” Boyle said. “As a former player, he can relate to the challenges our players face today; he just went through those relatively recently.

“He was born to coach, and this is the first step in that process. He helped us as a player and now he’ll help us in a different capacity.”

Tomlinson was the Buffs’ primary point guard during their run to the 2012 Pac-12 tournament championship. A four-year starter, he averaged 5.2 points and 3.1 assists during his career. He ranks among the Buffs’ all-time leaders in assists (405), starts (111), minutes (3,540), 3-point percentage (.406) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.68).

“(Colorado) is where I want to be,” Tomlinson said. “It means everything to me to be back here representing Colorado again, with a team that I love so much, learning from coach Boyle and the staff. Here I have a lot of room to grow and learn.”

Rivalry renewed in Vegas

CU will face a familiar foe at the MGM Resorts Main Event in November: the Wyoming Cowboys. The Buffs were announced as part of the tournament field in December, but their semifinals opponent become official Thursday.

CU and Wyoming will face each other at 6 p.m. MT on Nov. 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. TCU and Clemson will play in the other game. The winners will play for the championship on Nov. 26, with the losing teams in the third-place game.