West Jessamine’s Jody Hamilton has been honored as the national coach of the year for the sport of baseball by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
Hamilton, who has won 900 games during a 34-year high school coaching career, received the award during the organization’s banquet in Louisville last week.
In 2015, Hamilton led West Jessamine to its first baseball state championship and, in the process, became the first coach to lead two different schools to titles. Hamilton guided Boyd County to the 2001 championship. He has also led two state runner-up teams (1988, 1998) and won 15 regional titles.
Hamilton was nominated for the award by the state coaches’ association. The selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years, and winning percentage. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches association formed by coaches, for coaches, in the nation, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978.
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Hamilton, a graduate of Paul Blazer High School in Ashland, played college baseball at Morehead State, where he was named one of the top 50 players in the first 75 years of the Ohio Valley Conference. He is a member of the MSU Hall of Fame.
Hamilton’s career record is 900-346, including 118-41 in postseason play. He coached Raceland for four years, Boyd County for 16 and has been at West Jessamine for 14 seasons.
Mike Bankemper of Campbell County was honored as the national coach of the year for wrestling at the same banquet at which Hamilton received his award.
Bankemper has been head coach at Campbell County for 34 years, leading the Camels to state championships in 1990, 1991, 2004 and 2012. His teams have also won 16 regional titles, including five in a row.