July 14, 2022 - by

Hamilton Named As Lapchick Award Recipient

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, who has been named as the Coach Year in the ACC three times and in the Big East twice during his illustrious career, is one of four recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award which will be presented on September 16 in New York City.  Hamilton will be honored along with Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, former LaSalle Coach Speedy Morris, and former Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd.

The Lapchick Award “celebrates what is good in the game of basketball by honoring those who have demonstrated honorable character throughout their careers, much like the legendary Coach Lapchick.”

Lapchick, a legendary figure in college and professional basketball, was regarded as one the best centers in professional basketball in the 1920s and 30s.  Following his spectacular playing career, he became the Head Coach at St. John’s and with the New York Knicks.  He won 334 games at St. John’s and led the Knicks to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances (1951-53). 

Past recipients of the award include Clarence “Big House” Gaines, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Cremins, Duke’s Mike Mrzyzewski and ESPN’s Doris Burke.  .

Hamilton is the winningest coach in Florida State basketball history and fifth winningest in Atlantic Coast Conference history. He has 394 victories in his 20 years at the school and 594 overall in his 34-year career that began at Oklahoma State and Miami (in the Big East) before he became Florida State’s Head Coach in 2002. 

Under Hamilton and since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Seminoles are the fourth winningest overall program in the ACC and are one of only four teams that have won at least 60 percent of their games.

Under Hamilton, the Seminoles have won at least 20 games in 12 of his 20 years and have advanced to the postseason in 16 of his 20 seasons at Florida State. Hamilton is the first coach to lead Florida State to nine consecutive postseason appearances as the Seminoles participated in the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments and played in the NIT in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2014.

Hamilton has earned three National Coach of the Year awards, has led his teams to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and 20 postseason appearances, to the 2020 ACC Championship, to the 2012 ACC Championship 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 was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame during the spring of 2022.    

The 2022 event will take place at the New York Athletic Club on Sept. 16 from 12 to 3 p.m.  Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Related Articles