March 6, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Leonard Hamilton, who has guided the Florida State men’s basketball team to 21 wins and a school-record tying 12 wins in Atlantic Coast Conference play, has been named the ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career in a vote by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Hamilton was also recognized as the ACC Coach of the Year in 2009 and has earned the honor twice in the last four seasons.
The Seminoles have won 21 games while playing the nation’s 10th-toughest schedule, won 12 ACC games for only the second time in school history and are the No. 3 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament for the third consecutive season. Hamilton has guided Florida State to wins over four nationally ranked teams including then No. 3 ranked North Carolina (Jan. 14, 90-57) and then No. 4 Duke (Jan. 21, 76-73) at Cameron Indoor Stadium as well as wins over each of the four ACC teams from the state of North Carolina (Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest) for the first time ever in the same season.
Hamilton guided the Seminoles to a fourth consecutive 21-win and a fourth consecutive double-digit ACC-wins season and had the Seminoles in contention for the ACC regular season championship until the final week of the season following a 9-6 start. The Seminoles are 12-3 since defeating Virginia Tech on Jan. 10. The Seminoles were ranked 86th in the national RPI through games of Jan. 7 and enter the ACC Tournament with an RPI of 24.
In addition to being ranked in the national polls in eight weeks during the regular season, the Seminoles are prominently placed in the ACC and national team statistics. The Seminoles are one of the nation’s top defensive teams as they rank sixth nationally in field goal percentage defense (.379) and eighth in the nation in blocked shots (5.9 bpg). Florida State is the best defensive team in the ACC and is ranked first in league statistics in field goal percentage defense, first in steals (7.9 spg), second in blocked shots, and third in scoring defense (62.1). The Seminoles are currently ranked No. 17 in both national polls by the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today.
Florida State is looking to lead the nation in field goal percentage defense for the NCAA-record tying third consecutive season and looking to lead the ACC in the same category for the league record fourth consecutive year.
Florida State is the third winningest program in the ACC in the last five seasons behind only North Carolina and Duke – two of the top four winningest programs in NCAA history. The Seminoles were 2-1 against the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils this season – the only team in the ACC with a winning record against the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in this weekend’s ACC Tournament.
“I am very fortunate to have such a talented, loyal and committed staff that has overwhelmingly accepted the responsibility of doing what it takes to get our team to perform at the highest levels,” said Hamilton. “Our staff has worked very hard and demonstrated an incredible amount of love for our players that has allowed them to be motivated within themselves to help our players reach their potential both on and off the basketball court.
“This is not an award for Leonard Hamilton; rather it is an award that touts the hard work and accomplishments of our staff and players. The uncommon ability of our players and coaches to work together is very gratifying to me and something I am very thankful for. The unwavering commitment that our administration has shown our program by being behind us and helping us be at our best every step of the way has allowed consistently improve in every facet of our program.”
Hamilton is the only person to be named the coach of the year in the ACC and the Big East. He earned the honor from the ACC in 2009 and 2012 and from the Big East in 1995 and 1999. He was also named the National Coach of the Year in 1995 (at Miami) and in 2009 (at Florida State).