Matt Houston is hard at work this week as a strength and conditioning coach for the Miami Heat, a journey that started at the University of Hawaii 10 years ago.

Houston, a California native, got his start at Hawaii in 2013 and departed in 2015. He credits the lessons learned and his relationship with Tommy Heffernan as essential to get to where he is today.

All the latest sports news from Hawaii’s sports station

“I think I’d say Tommy Heffernan changed my life. Tommy took a chance on me when no one else did. Tommy is my mentor. He’s like my brother, my uncle, my pops, all in one. We did things that most most strength and conditioning stars don’t do. Besides working in the weight room, we’re going to help garden or pick weeds when other people don’t want to do it, we’re going to help other sports. Support other sports. And then in the weight room, all we do is grind, man. There are no shortcuts in there,” Houston told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “The athletes that make it out, the coaches that make it out, always straight edge, tough, hard working people, loyal people and good overall, just human beings.

“I really embrace that and carried it over and I try to bring that same Aloha spirit here to Miami, just working hard and treating people right.” 

Houston joins former Hawaii men’s basketball star guard Anthony “AC” Carter as members of the Heat staff with Hawaii ties.

The Heat tied the NBA Finals at 1-1 against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Game 3 is set for Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. HST on ABC.