April 26, 2012
GASTONIA, N.C. (seminoles.com) –
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton, who led the Seminoles to the ACC Championship and who was named to the ACC Coach of the Year in 2012, was honored for his coaching successes by a large collection of more than 250 supporters in a ceremony at the Gaston Country Club Wednesday. Hamilton was honored along with fellow Gastonia native Dave Robbins, the former coach at Virginia Union University who will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 18.
Hamilton attended Highland High School in Gastonia and graduated in 1966 while Robbins attended Ashley High School in Gastonia and graduated in 1961. Hamilton and Robbins have combined for over 1,000 career victories, four national championships, and have coached more than 50 NBA players between them.
“It’s extremely humbling,” Hamilton told the Gastonia Gazette prior to the ceremony at the Gaston Country Club. “It’s great to be among people you grew up with, that you haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time with over the years since I’ve been away from Gaston County. Everything I have been able to accomplish and do in my career, it all started with the things I learned here in Gastonia.”
Hamilton led the Seminoles to a 25-10 record, the first ACC Championship in school history and a school record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012, Along the way, Hamilton’s Seminoles defeated both Duke and North Carolina twice and beat the ACC’s four teams from the state of North Carolina (Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest) in the same season for the first time in school history. The Seminoles defeated five ranked teams, became the first team to lead the ACC in field goal percentage defense in four consecutive seasons and were only the fourth team in ACC history to lead the league in both blocked shots and steals in the same season.
“I follow Leonard and pull for him because he’s a hometown guy,” said Robbins. “He’s also a no-nonsense coach, and I think I was, too. He beat Duke twice this year, beat UNC twice this year and was the ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in four years. That’s heavy company.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony was Hamilton’s 97-year old mother Bennie Ruth.
Hamilton will celebrate the members of his current team this week during graduation ceremonies at Florida State. As many as four of his current player are expected to earn their bachelor’s degrees as Hamilton continued to see his players graduate at a sensational rate during his career as a collegiate head coach. He has seen 22 of 24 players (.916 percent) graduate during his tenure at Florida State after helping 28 of 31 (.903 percent) student-athletes earn degrees during his time at the University of Miami (1990-2000).