Texas Men's Basketball Hires Memphis Strength Coach to be Newest Addition to Staff

Darby Rich will take on the same role at Texas, bringing veteran experience and hope for a healthy 2024-25 season.
Darby Rich, the Memphis strength and conditioning coach, leads the men   s basketball team in stretching before the preseason game against Lane College at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday, October 29, 2023.
Darby Rich, the Memphis strength and conditioning coach, leads the men s basketball team in stretching before the preseason game against Lane College at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday, October 29, 2023. / Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal / USA
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Memphis basketball strength and conditioning coach Darby Rich has been hired by the Texas Longhorns, multiple sources told The Commercial Appeal on Saturday. While no official statement has been released by either university, various connections have already confirmed the transfer.

Rich worked alongside the Tigers for three seasons and has previously coached for Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Hailing from South Carolina and being a captain of Alabama basketball back in 1991, Rich contributed in the development of two 2020 NBA Draft picks in James Wiseman, the second overall, and Precious Achiuwa, the 20th overall, both from Memphis.

During his six seasons at Texas A&M, prior to joining Memphis, Rich saw nine of his players receive all-conference honors, and three of them were made First Team All-SEC selections.

The addition of Rich comes after the departure of former Texas Director of Basketball Health and Performance Cory Schlesinger, who was picked up by the Longhorns ahead of last season. Schlesinger served as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Phoenix Suns from 2019-2023 where he spent time with Texas Ex Kevin Durant and helped put his team in the 2021 NBA Finals.

Schlesinger assisted in keeping the Longhorns healthy and on the court, with five out of eight players on the team's starting lineup appearing in all 34 games throughout the season. However, injuries to veteran athletes such as Dylan Disu and Kadin Shedrick in the past have deterred them from playing in crucial matchups, and prevention this season will be needed for a potentially deep NCAA March Madness run.

Rich will be key in maintaining that area for Texas as the program enters its first season as members of the SEC, bringing along a new wave of competition. The team already has various events tacked on their schedule, such as the ACC-SEC Challenge, and Maui Invitational, and will travel to Las Vegas on Nov. 4 against Ohio State in their Hall of Fame Series event to kick off the season.

As head coach Rodney Terry enters his second full season at Texas, he's not timid when it comes to rebuilding a culture founded by Shaka Smart and questioned with the firing of Chris Beard during the 2022-2023 season. His most recent addition in Rich will look to bring success and security to a fresh squad just in time for their move to the SEC.


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Emma Hutchinson

EMMA HUTCHINSON