Rick Torbett '79
||Dr. Gary Phillips|
"You never know where you're going to end up," Rick Torbett told me recently. Rick went from a college basketball star to the head of his own company, Better Basketball Inc.
"My love for basketball started in third grade," he explained. He played football, baseball, and basketball throughout his school years but ended up focusing on basketball. "I was 6'1" by the time I was in eighth grade," he added. Rick transferred to Bryan in 1977 as a math major and basketball player. Although he was only at Bryan for two years, it was a formative time in his life that led him to a relationship with Christ. "It was the first place that really helped me gain a respect for God's word," Rick said. "My Bible classes really opened my eyes to consider Christianity."
After graduation, Rick moved to Chattanooga and began working as a math teacher and high school basketball coach. He began dating Cindy, a junior at Bryan at the time; and they were married in 1981. Together they have two daughters, Melissa and Amanda.
In 1988, the Torbetts moved to Atlanta where Rick continued to coach basketball. "I enjoyed helping build up new basketball programs at these schools from scratch," Rick said. After over a decade of coaching teams and training players one on one, Rick decided to take his personal training system and develop it into a DVD series that could benefit players and coaches. "I wanted to be able to reach more players than I could one-on-one, and that's why I started Better Basketball," Rick explained. The goal of Better Basketball is "to make even the most advanced techniques so easy to understand that even very young players grasp them quickly and apply those systems to their own game."
The DVD series covers all the basics of basketball training from free throws to defense and became so popular that it is now used in more than 100 countries. By 2004, Better Basketball was so successful that Rick stopped coaching to develop the curriculum full-time. "I had no idea it would get this big," Rick said. "Now I have NBA and WNBA players as guests on the DVDs and travel all over the world to speak at training seminars." Rick spends most of his time analyzing problems in the basketball community and working to develop solutions. He meets with lots of teams and evaluates film to figure out how to better equip coaches and create more successful teams.
"You never know where you are going to end up," Rick said. "That's why I think everyone should get as wide an education as possible. All those gen-ed classes in English and communication are important. I would have never guessed back when I was at Bryan that I would now be traveling to other countries to speak. Communication is truly the linchpin of success.