By ERIC TABER
Rachi Wortham, the former director of player personnel at Oregon State, has been selected to join the Montana men’s basketball staff as an assistant under Grizzly head coach Travis DeCuire.
Rachi (pronounced Rah-shee) comes to Montana after spending two seasons at Oregon State working under former Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle.
No stranger to the Big Sky Conference, Wortham served as an assistant coach at Eastern Washington from 2007-2011 under Kirk Earlywine. Wortham is also an EWU alumnus, where he was a standout guard from 2003-05, and was part of the Eagles’ first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2004.
“I know Montana. I was at Eastern Washington for a long time, and I’ve seen the way they hold themselves, the way they prepare, the way they compete. They compete like winners, so I’m excited to be part of that mentality,” says Wortham.
Wortham and DeCuire’s prior relationship dates back to the mid 90’s when he played AAU basketball under DeCuire at the age of 15 in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash.
“We go back a long way,” says Coach DeCuire. “I’ve watched him grow, I’ve watched him kick in doors for opportunities. We’re talking about a young man that has always had leadership qualities, but has developed into a strong leader and a strong mentor of young men, and we need more of that.”
In addition to coaching at the collegiate level, Wortham has used basketball as a means of outreach and leadership development for organizations such as TEAM ACCESS, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, the Boys & Girls Club, the Isaiah Thomas Basketball Camp and Lids Team Sports-Nike Team.
Wortham’s duties for the Grizzlies under Coach DeCuire will include academic advising, player mentoring, recruiting and community outreach.
“He’ll be a fantastic recruiter for us. He’s got tight ties in Washington. He’s a bulldog, a lot like what Chris Cobb has brought to the table for us. He won’t take no for an answer, and he’ll do what it takes to bring good talent to the University of Montana that will help us reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves,” added DeCuire.
Wortham is a 2000 graduate of Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash., where he led his team to a 25-4 record and the 2000 State 4A championship.
After high school, he followed family ties to the University of Alabama on an academic scholarship for one year before returning to the Pacific Northwest to play basketball at Tacoma Community College.
Wortham played at TCC for two seasons, leading the Titans to a 58-8 record and a first-place finish at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) tournament.
At TCC he earned an associate of arts degree in general studies in 2003 before transferring to Eastern Washington University, where he graduated in 2006 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. He also earned a master’s degree from EWU in 2008 in science sports administration.
He was also inducted into the (NWAACC) Hall of Fame in 2013.
Wortham was born on Feb. 28, 1982 in Tacoma, Wash. He and his wife Lisa have a son, Joaquin (4)