Hamilton named to Coach of The Year watch list
By Chuck Walsh
Leonard Hamilton, who has guided Florida State to a 22-4 overall record and a 12-3 mark in ACC play, has been named to the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List by the Atlanta Tip Off Club.
A list of 10 semifinalists for the award will be announced on March 6, with the list of finalists released on March 18. The Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year will be announced on April 5 at the Naismith Awards Brunch in Atlanta.
Hamilton and the Seminoles are currently enjoying one of the finest seasons in school history. Florida State has won at least 20 games of the fifth consecutive season and is one win shy of tying the school record for ACC victories. The Seminoles have defeated three nationally ranked teams (No. 6 Florida, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 6 Louisville) and are currently tied for second in the ACC standings.
Florida State is ranked No. 8 nationally in the both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls for the school-record fourth consecutive week. The Seminoles have been ranked in the nation’s top 10 for a school-record seven consecutive weeks and were ranked No. 5 for two weeks in January.
Hamilton’s Seminoles last Saturday’s game at NC State having won 22 of their last 25 games, including a 10-game winning streak (Dec. 8 through Jan. 25) and five wins in their last six games since winning at Virginia Tech on Feb. 1. The Seminoles are 3-1 against nationally ranked teams and have five wins against teams who were in the Preseason AP Poll (Louisville, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Purdue).
Hamilton’s 356 wins at Florida State makes him the all-time winningest coach in Seminole history, while he is the fifth all-time winningest coach in ACC history with 166 ACC wins (ACC regular season and ACC Tournament). He became the fifth all-time winningest coach in ACC history as he guided the Seminoles past Syracuse on Feb. 15.
Under Hamilton, the Seminoles have won at least 20 games in 12 of his 18 years.
Hamilton has earned three National Coach of the Year awards, two Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year awards, two Big East Coach of the Year awards, has led his teams to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and 20 postseason appearances, to the 2012 ACC Championship (as the head coach at Florida State) and to the 1978 National Championship (as an assistant coach at Kentucky). He is the only person to earn Coach of the Year honors multiple times in both the ACC and the Big East. He was named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines National Coach of the Year in 2018 by the National Sports Media Association.
Hamilton is one of 15 coaches – and is joined by Chris Mack of Louisville as the only two ACC coaches — on the Naismith Late Season Coach of the Year Watch List.
Other coaches on watch list: Patrick Chambers, Penn State; Scott Drew, Baylor; Brian Dutcher, San Diego State; Mark Few, Gonzaga; Anthony Grant, Dayton; Bob Huggins, West Virginia; Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa; LaVall Jordan, Butler; Chris Mack, Louisville; Greg McDermott, Creighton; Bruce Pearl, Auburn; Steve Pikiell, Rutgers; Brad Underwood, Illinois; Kevin Willard, Seton Hall.