Eastern Kentucky announced A.W. Hamilton as their new head coach this afternoon in a press conference at Alumni Coliseum. A.W. comes to EKU from North Carolina State where he served as an assistant for one season. Before joining Wolfpack’s coaching staff he was head coach at Hargrove Military Academy from 2006-2017. He had a career record of 237-22, averaging forty wins per season and winning the 2016 National Prep Championship. He was named the National Prep Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016.
Hamilton played high school basketball at Scott County from 1995-99. While at Scott Co. he led the Cardinals to the 1998 KHSAA State Championship, and in the 1999 Sweet Sixteen he was part of the Cardinal team that defeated Madison Central. He was first team all state as a senior and played in the prestigious Kentucky-Indiana All Star game. After high school he went to Wake Forest and transferred to Marshall University. For the Thundering Herd he was three year captain from 2002-2005. He led the team in assists, steals, and minutes played all three seasons he played. He still ranks in the top ten in assists in school history. A.W. Hamilton comes to Richmond with his wife Chelsea and two daughters Charleigh and Andi. His wife was a cheerleader for Morehead State.
Athletic Director Steve Lochmueller spoke of his hire of Hamilton saying when he became AD within his first week on the job he had to replace Jeff Neubauer who had just left the program. This time around he brought in a committee to help choose the new head coach. Beside President Michael Benson and his athletic administration team he enlisted help from Craig Turner, chair of regents, former all american football player Ernie House, Jan Barnes, Keith Daniels, and former Colonel Deverin Muff, former Colonel basketball player. He also leaned heavily on the current players for their input. When he set out to find the next head coach he had three goals in place, 1. the new coach would have to have former head coaching experience, 2. the new coach would need to have knowledge of Kentucky high school basketball and be able to recruit the state, and 3. be a good fit for Eastern Kentucky, Richmond, and the surrounding area.
A.W. Hamilton in his words to the fans and media spoke of his time at Scott County, his seven seasons as an assistant coach in college, and his six years as head coach of Hargrove Military Academy, where he placed over one hundred players in division one basketball. He says that after becoming head coach the first thing he done was a meeting with his new team. He told them that even though he didn’t recruit them to EKU he plans on re-recruiting them to become his players. He promises an exciting style of play that the Colonel fans will enjoy and even though he can’t promise an OVC title next season he does promise that Eastern Kentucky will become competitive in conference play, sooner than later.
I spoke with senior to be Nick Mayo about the coaching change, this will be his third coach while at EKU. He was recruited by the Neubauer staff but as freshman played for Dan McHale. He spoke candidly about the players genuinely liking coach Hamilton and what he brings to the table. I asked A.W. about his coaching staff and he wants to have one in place before the semester ends and when I asked about the possibility of keeping Reece Gaines on staff he was optimistic about keeping him on staff. Hamilton also spoke on his hope to be able to keep some of the Kentucky high school players in the state, he speaks highly of the Kentucky talent that finds it way of the state and he wants to keep it here.
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