University of Houston's Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Aug. 13, 2013, the hiring of Rich Murphy as UH's new head swimming coach. The fifth coach in program history, Murphy will team with head diving coach Jane Figueiredo, who is in her 24th year with the program.
"It is very exciting to find someone in Rich who has such an impressive and varied background. We believe he is the perfect fit for the University of Houston," said Rhoades. "Well known throughout the American swimming community, Rich brings a history of developing top-notch athletes in the pool and cultivating a culture of excellence out of the water as well. And for those reasons, his name continually came up throughout our nationwide search.
"Our swimming and diving program has reached new heights over the last few years, and we fully expect Rich to continue to grow the base that has been established. We are looking forward to where he and Jane take this program."
Murphy comes to Houston after serving as Associate Head Coach at Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta the last six years. While at Dynamo Swim Club, he was responsible for the overall operations for a three-pool site with more than 450 swimmers and a swim school.
"I am thrilled and honored to become a part of the University of Houston family," said Murphy. "I look forward to continuing the growth that Mack Rhoades and the leadership has established at the University of Houston, and I am very excited for the bright future of our program and our student-athletes.
"The dynamic facility that I'll inherit and Jane Figueiredo are just two factors that show Houston is committed to a culture of excellence. The vision I have for the program mirrors the vision Mack Rhoades and the Houston community has for the program."
At Dynamo, Murphy managed five full-time coaches and his stable of athletes included 2012 London Olympian Matias Koski, the Finnish national record holder in the 800 and 1,500 freestyle. Murphy coached Junior National Team Champions in 2013, 2011 and 2010 and was named the 2011 Georgia Senior Coach of the Year for his work. Murphy's athletes at Dynamo combined for eight Olympic Trials qualifiers, 27 individual state records and 34 relay state records. More than 20 of Murphy's Dynamo swimmers earned Division I scholarships.
Just last summer, Murphy helped lead the Dynamo Swim Club to its latest national championship as the squad boasted five meet records, 21 team and/or LSC records while three swimmers qualified for Junior World Championships.
Murphy's Division I experience came as an assistant at Auburn (2006-07) and Bowling Green (2005). While at Auburn, Murphy helped lead both the Tiger men and women to NCAA national championships after sweeping SEC titles. Prior to his stop at Auburn, Murphy spent one season at Bowling Green where he coordinated all recruiting efforts for the Falcons and was named interim head coach while the team's head coach was away on maternity leave before taking his position with Auburn.
Murphy began his collegiate coaching career in 2001 as a volunteer assistant at Arizona State. After one year as a volunteer assistant, he was named a graduate assistant for the Sun Devils for one year before taking over as head coach for Sun Devil Aquatics for two years.
He first began coaching as an Advanced Age Group Swim Coach in 1998 at Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics in Palo Alto, Calif.
Murphy was a four-year letterwinner for Notre Dame's swimming and diving program and graduated from the school in 1997 with a bachelors in Marketing and a second degree in Sociology.
He takes over a program that enters The American Athletic Conference coming off its most successful season in Conference USA history. The 2012-13 Houston swimming and diving team finished in a program-best second place at the Conference USA Championships as the Cougars recorded personal bests in 90 percent of their swims, breaking seven school records in the process, and achieved a program-best 3.42 team GPA.
What They Are Saying About Rich Murphy
"I've known Rich for several years and knew him during my time at the University of Arizona. He is a great young coach and, speaking of my time at USA Swimming, he has always impressed me with his values and standards. He has plenty of experience both at the club level where he is currently employed and on the collegiate level as well. He is a great fit for the University of Houston. I believe the program is on the right track and Rich will continue to carry the program in the direction it is headed. Rich has the big picture mindset, and I know he will not stop working until Houston is a prominent name on the national scene." - Frank Busch, USA Swimming Director, Six-Time NCAA Coach of the Year
"I am happy for Rich. He is a great young coach who has produced swimmers at the highest level of competition for the USA Swimming Program. I know he will do a great job for the University of Houston as he has done for Dynamo Swim Club. We will certainly miss him in the state of Georgia." - Jack Bauerle, Georgia Head Coach, Six-Time NCAA Coach of the Year, 2008 USA Olympic Women's Head Coach
"Rich's ability to analyze stroke technique and present it a number of different ways sets him apart. He can present information so many ways. His overall knowledge of swimming, from training to technique to science is uniquely impressive. The athletes at the University of Houston will love his presentation of information and will be awed at his depth of knowledge, as well as his ability to prepare a team." - Jason A. Turcotte, Dynamo Swim Club Head Coach/CEO
"This is a great hire for Houston. Rich has an impeccable reputation in the swimming community. He has earned that by treating people the right way and being a consummate professional. He cares tremendously for his athletes and that's very evident when you watch him in action. It is so comforting for me to know the women of this program will be in great hands moving forward. I'm excited to watch Houston swimming from afar as it will surely continue to have success under Rich's guidance." - Augie Busch, University of Virginia Head Coach and former Houston Head Coach
"Rich Murphy is one of the finest young coaches in America. The job he has done at Dynamo Swim Club has been a part of one of the most remarkable club turnarounds in the nation. When he was with me at Auburn, he demonstrated a real passion for the sport and the willingness to go the extra mile to learn and grow. " - David Marsh, SwimMAC CEO/Director, former Auburn Head Coach, Nine-Time NCAA Coach of the Year