The San Antonio Spurs are bringing a Texas native back home with their hiring of former Florida strength and conditioning coach Matt Herring.
Herring, an Austin native, has served under Florida men's basketball coach Billy Donovan since 2004, which included Florida's back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007.
“I’m very happy for Matt and his family,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said in a statement. “This is an opportunity with a great organization and a chance to be closer to his family.
“Matt has contributed a large part to our success here, and we appreciate what he’s invested in our program and our players over the last seven years.”
Hawks forward/center Al Horford credits Herring for turning him into a first round pick while at Florida and 2011 second round draft pick Chandler Parsons credits Herring for making an impact on his college career.
Herring certainly has big shoes to fill in replacing recently-retired and long time Spurs strength and conditioning coach Mike Brungardt. Aside from that, the NBA lockout should make things even more challenging.
“We are thrilled to welcome Matt Herring to the Spurs family to serve as our Director of Athletic Performance,” President of Sports Franchises R.C. Buford said. “Coming from one of the premier programs in college basketball led by Billy Donovan at Florida, Matt brings championship credentials with him and we look forward to the contributions he will bring to our team.”
Herring cited location as one of the biggest determining factors in taking the job offered by the Spurs, according to Gatorzone.com.
“I really hadn’t thought about it until San Antonio came calling,’’ Herring said. “The main reason why we even considered it is one, it’s a great organization and we certainly follow them, and then the draw to get closer to family and see my little girl get a chance to get closer to her grandparents and foster those relationships."
“It was just a tremendous opportunity for us on a personal level. The University of Florida is a fantastic place to be and Coach Donovan and the administration certainly tried to encourage me to stay here, but at the end of the day, they can’t move Gainesville to Texas, and that was the biggest draw."
Aside from being closer to home, working with one of the best power forwards in NBA history could be quite a draw as well.
“You have an impact on their lives – their livelihood and their career,’’ he said. “You can have a positive impact on a guy like Tim Duncan and helping him get three, four, five more years out of his career and end on his terms."
Spurs fans would definitley not mind seeing Duncan around longer. While three to five years could be a challenge, it's good to see that Herring is up to the challenge.
Herring earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science from Southwest Texas and his M.Ed. in kinesiology from the University of Texas. Before entering the strength and conditioning field, Herring worked as a teacher in the Schertz school district from 1994-99.
I'm a Florida grad and a Spurs fan, so I'm pretty happy that the Spurs are getting Matt but bummed as a Gator fan that we're losing. He is definitely a top notch strength coach. I took his design and implementation of strength and conditioning program class in grad school and he was great. Great get by the Spurs!