When assistant coach Addae Houston accepted a position to be a part of the Northwest women’s basketball coaching staff, the familiarity of Maryville and Northwest had been instilled in him many years prior to the 2018-19 season.
Before Houston was named the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Northwest while playing two seasons with the men’s basketball team.
Houston spent the 2004-06 seasons playing under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Steve Tappmeyer and credits his own defensive coaching style to his former coach.
“The most influential part of coaching that I learned from coach Tappmeyer was being a great defensive team,” Houston said. “From day one with our team, we have emphasized the importance of defense in every single practice.”
During Houston’s first season with the Bearcats as a player, the team achieved a 19-11 record, with a 9-9 record in MIAA conference play. He helped lead Northwest to the MIAA tournament during the 2004-05 season, recording a game-high two assists during the opening round loss to Southwest Baptist that ended the Bearcats’ season.
Houston finished his junior year averaging 25.8 points per game on 43 percent shooting and knocking down 10 3-pointers.
As a senior, Houston played a role in a team that competed in the NCAA South Central Regionals after going 22-10 with a 10-6 record in MIAA play. The Bearcats suffered a season-ending loss to Tarleton State during regional play, though Houston led all scorers during the game with 21 points.
After basketball season, Houston didn’t spend long being away from the sport, as he joined the Northwest women’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant.
He began his coaching career under Gene Steinmeyer, who is second on the all-time wins list at Northwest, notching 189 wins during the 2000-12 seasons. Steinmeyer is also second on the all-time list for games coached at Northwest with 376.
To back up his successful coaching career, Houston was on staff for the 29-5 Bearcat women's squad that appeared in the program's first Final Four in school history in 2011. A big priority for him is to bring back the same success to the present.
“This year’s team has laid the foundation and framework to whatever future success awaits the women’s basketball program,” Houston said. “Right now, we can only be in the present with the 18-19 roster and season, so it’s important for us to enjoy their milestones as a team.”
The connection between head coach Austin Meyer and Houston originates back to the 2004-06 seasons as they were both parts of the Bearcat starting five. Houston explained that this was very advantageous and is 100 percent behind Meyer when leading the program into the future.
“I feel our relationship as friends and once teammates here at Northwest really helps the working relationship that we have now,” Houston said. “Of course, I technically work for him, but he never makes it feel that way. As the assistant coach, I want to do everything I can to support his vision for the women’s basketball future.”
Whether it is recruiting or working with specific athletes one-on-one, Meyer feels that the addition of Houston to the staff will help make great strides within the program during the road ahead.
“He does a great job with our guards, and we are getting better as a team,” Meyer said. “He’s going to do a great job with our recruits that we are bringing in, and I am very fortunate that we have him on our staff.”
The roots run deep here at Northwest and in Bearcat Arena for Houston, and he felt honored when Meyer asked him to take part in building the next generation of Bearcat basketball achievements. Coaching at one’s alma mater and the place that helped make everything happen while beginning a career has always been on Houston’s bucket list.
“Northwest has always been a place that I envisioned coming back to if given the opportunity,” Houston said. “The transition to an assistant coach was a great decision because I knew that I would have the chance to develop and learn how to build a program from coach Meyer’s experience.”
Like so many, Houston has made Northwest his place. His home.
“There is a tremendous amount of pride in being a Bearcat, and I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be back here once again,” Houston said. “In so many ways, as it is for many alumni, this is home.”