UConn hires Gavin Roberts as new director of sports performance for men's basketball

Photo of David Borges
A women’s college basketball, left, and men’s college basketball are displayed before Sunday’s game. The men’s basketball was used in Sunday’s game.
A women’s college basketball, left, and men’s college basketball are displayed before Sunday’s game. The men’s basketball was used in Sunday’s game.Jessica Hill — The Associated Press

UConn has found its new director of sports performance for men’s basketball.

The Huskies have hired Gavin Roberts, who served as head strength and conditioning coach for Purdue men’s basketball the past three years. Roberts’ hire is pending the completion of the university’s employee onboarding process.

Roberts, 31, was assistant director of sports performance at Western Michigan prior to his time at Purdue. At UConn, he will be responsible for all in-season and off-season aspects concerning strength, conditioning, nutrition and wellness training for the men’s basketball student-athletes.

“We are excited to add one of the top young sports performance coaches in the country, who is coming to us from an outstanding program,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said in a statement. “At Purdue, Gavin gained experience working with NBA-level players in a program with championship aspirations. He understands the standards and the tradition here with his tri-state area ties.”

Roberts will be UConn’s third strenth coach in the past three years. He replaces Mike Rehfeldt, who spent one season with the Huskies before returning to the University of Cincinnati, where he had been the prior eight years. Rehfeldt’s departure was family-related.

Rehfeldt had replaced Sal Alosi, who spent two seasons as the Huskies’ strength coach.

Roberts, originally from Somerset, N.J., said he has always followed UConn and nearly committed to the school’s football program out of high school, choosing Purdue instead.

He said that continuing the UConn men’s basketball rebuild was a big part of his decision to come to Storrs.

“The illustrious history, the prestige, the Big East,” he said in a statement. “And being able to continue to build on what Coach Hurley has built so far.”

During Roberts’ tenure at Purdue, the men’s basketball team posted a 60-35 record overall, 38-21 in the Big Ten, with two NCAA appearances (the 2019-20 tourney was cancelled).

“Overall, the greatest aspect an athlete has is his availability … so making sure guys are healthy,” Roberts explained about his philosophy. “The second thing overall is to build athleticism - essentially trying to raise the threshold of these athletes so they are able to absorb and redirect force and be at their best on the court.

“Then, from a mentality standpoint, to find a system ultimately that they need for themselves in order to thrive. Providing information and support from a mental standpoint, from a nutrition standpoint, from a strength aspect, a conditioning aspect, providing that recovery aspect. Ultimately, it’s about empowering guys so they can build themselves into the best person they can be in college and beyond.”

Roberts, a defensive back and special teams player for the Boilermakers, graduated from Purdue in 2013 with a degree in Health and Fitness and earned a master’s degree in Technology, Leadership and Innovation from Purdue in 2015.

Prior to his time at Western Michigan, he spent time as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Purdue during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, implementing an individualized program to develop athletes for the NBA.

david.borges@hearstmediact.com