Men's Basketball

Former Scott County star happy for ‘opportunity to come home and coach at a place like’ EKU

Herald-Leader staff report

Eastern Kentucky announced the hiring of A.W. Hamilton as the men’s basketball program’s new head coach.
Eastern Kentucky announced the hiring of A.W. Hamilton as the men’s basketball program’s new head coach. EKU Athletics

Eastern Kentucky announced the hiring of A.W. Hamilton as its 21st men’s basketball head coach on Friday.

A Georgetown native and former hoops star at Scott County High School, Hamilton spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach under Kevin Keatts at North Carolina State. He helped lead the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament with a 21-12 record, including wins over No. 2 Arizona, No. 2 Duke and No. 10 North Carolina.

“The opportunity to come home and coach at a place like Eastern Kentucky University … is one that I cannot truly put into words,” Hamilton said, according to a news release by EKU. “The fit is perfect for my family and me, and we look forward to building on everything EKU has to offer, both on and off the basketball court. It truly is a great day to be a Colonel.”

Hamilton steps in for Dan McHale, who was 38-55 in three seasons at EKU. The Colonels failed to qualify for the eight-team Ohio Valley Conference Tournament all three years.

Before joining Keatts in Raleigh, Hamilton was the head coach of one of the top prep basketball programs in the country, Hargrave Military Academy, from 2011 to 2017. Hargrave was 237-22 and won the 2016 National Prep Championship during Hamilton’s tenure. He was named the National Prep Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016.

“The process of identifying a new men’s basketball coach began with the following principles: head coaching experience, knowledge of Kentucky, and a fit within the Eastern Kentucky University and Richmond communities,” Athletics Director Stephen Lochmueller said, according to the release. “His knowledge of the game, recruiting prowess and focus on the well-being and development of student-athletes were obvious. His energy and passion for the game of basketball has never wavered.”

Before being named head coach at Hargrave, Hamilton was an assistant there under Keatts from 2006 to 2011.

Hamilton starred at Scott County in the late 1990s, helping the school win a state championship in 1998 and finish second in 1999. He was named first-team All-State following his senior season.

He was the starting point guard for Keatts at Hargrave during the 1999-2000 season, leading the Tigers to a 23-3 record and a No. 2 national ranking.

Hamilton went on to play a season and a half at Wake Forest before transferring to Marshall. He was a three-year captain for the Thundering Herd from 2002-05, and he ranks in the top 10 in program history in assists and in the top 20 in steals.