Leafs Confirm Smith, Hiller, Brewer, and Herring Hirings

The earlier information from Damien Cox has now been confirmed by the Leafs, and the team now has three new assistant coaches and a new Strength and Conditioning Coach. 

So as we mentioned earlier, with D.J. Smith the Leafs are adding a Memorial Cup winning coach who pulled off upsets over the Kelowna Rockets and Erie Otters to get there. And as Cox mentioned, the Oshawa Generals were the best defensive team in the OHL this season. The Generals have recently produced Cole Cassels, Boone Jenner, and Scott Laughton as solid two way centers.

Jim Hiller, who Cox had also previously mentioned as joining the Leafs as an assistant comes from the Red Wings and has previously spent one year working under Mike Babcock. Prior to that Hiller has been a long time head coach in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and previously the Chilliwack Bruins. He made the playoffs 7 out of the 8 years he was a head coach in the WHL.

Andrew Brewer’s hiring isn’t much of a surprise either, as he too has served under Babcock in Detroit, primarily serving as the video coach, a role that he previously held for Hockey Canada and where he and Babcock initially crossed paths. Babcock has called Brewer the best video guy in the business so I wouldn’t imagine he’ll be shaking that responsibility anytime soon, although the Leafs currently have a video analyst on staff.

Finally, the Leafs have added Matthew Herring as their Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, snatching him away from the San Antonio Spurs. 

From the Leafs official release:

“Herring, 29, spent the last two seasons as an Athletic Performance
Associate with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball
Association. With the Spurs, his responsibilities included strength
& conditioning, sports science and nutrition. The Bermuda native was
a part of the Spurs organization during their NBA Championship season
in 2013-14.

Herring holds a BSc in Sports Science from the University of Wales
(Swansea) as well as an MSc in Strength and Conditioning from the
University of Edinburgh. He is also a Certified Strength and
Conditioning Specialist.”

That doesn’t seem like a bad hire either considering the Spurs have done quite well for themselves in a sport I can’t say I know anything about, but they are aalso the same organization that Dr. Jeremy Bettle came from.

With today’s changes the current Hockey Operations Organization Chart now looks like this:



The GM and Goaltending Coach are still significant vacancies to address, and the Marlies Assistant jobs definitely need to be sorted out, but there’s also the matter of if and where Kelly McCrimmon fits into this picture, and if Mike Babcock will pursue an Associate Coach at some point this summer. Stay tuned as we’ve already updated this chart twice today.

  • Gary Empey

    Matt Herring, formerly the strength and conditioning coach for the National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs, enters his first season directing the Athletic Performance efforts for Mizzou Basketball.

    Herring returns to the collegiate ranks after two seasons in San Antonio (2011-13) and he helped Oklahoma State (2004) and Florida (2006 and 2007) advance to a combined three NCAA Tournament Final Fours in a four-year span. He spent the 2013-14 season in private coaching in San Antonio.

    “This was a big coup for our program, not only because Matt is a highly respected coach that has trained some of the elite basketball players in the world, but because he will mentor and train our young men in every phase of life,” Anderson said. “Matt has coached and trained at the highest levels throughout his career and has the ability to get the most out of his teams. We are excited to welcome Matt and his family to Mizzou.”

    Florida’s back-to-back trips to the Final Four resulted in national championships and his two seasons with the Spurs the organization went 108-40 (.730), advancing to the NBA Finals in 2013.

    The Austin, Texas, native joined San Antonio in 2011 after seven years with Billy Donovan at Florida (2004-11). He went to Gainesville in 2004 and two years later the Gators claimed their first of two consecutive NCAA titles.

    “I appreciate Coach Anderson, Mike Alden and the Mizzou Administration for this tremendous opportunity,” Herring said. “I became very familiar with Missouri during my time growing up in Texas and my time working at Oklahoma State, and I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for the Athletics Department as a whole, as well as this university. We are very excited to get to town, get to work and become a part of the Mizzou and Columbia communities.”

    Prior to his time at Florida, Herring spent two years leading the basketball strength and conditioning efforts at Oklahoma State and he was part of the Cowboys’ 2004 Final Four run. He also earned his graduate degree from Texas in 2002, learning from current Texas Strength and Conditioning coach, Todd Wright, before taking over at OSU.

    Herring graduated from Southwest Texas State in 1994.

  • CMpuck

    Jon the Spurs are an exemplary example of a first run organization that has won 4 championships in the past 15 years including last year. The three veterans, Duncan, Parker and Ginoboli will all be hall of famers. The 38 year old Duncan particularly was brilliant against the Clippers and had a solid season and one would think that this conditioning coach had a big impact on keeping veterans like Duncan and Parker and Ginoboli healthy enough to be one of the top teams once again in the powerful west.

    Hopefully the leafs with all the recent hirings will some day mirror the San Antonio Spurs on the playing surface and off the playing surface.