April 12, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The Tallahassee Democrat named first-year Florida State men’s basketball coach, Leonard Hamilton, as one of the top 33 people, places and events that impacted Tallahassee in 2002. A local selection committee decided that Coach Hamilton belonged on Tallahassee’s list of influential people due to his positive impact on the FSU basketball team and widespread acceptance by the Tallahassee community.
Hamilton was labeled the sixth most influential person on a list that also included hometown hero, police Sergeant Dale Green, who was killed in the line of duty late last year. Other notables were Sandy D’Alemberte, retired president of Florida State University, Fred Gainous, current President of Florida A&M University, Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles’ head football coach and former Florida State football player Todd Williams.
Hamilton, known for his superior basketball mind and recruiting abilities, redefined the Seminoles’ standard of success. In his first year with the team, FSU led the ACC in scoring defense, marking the first time they have led the ACC in a statistical category since the 1994-95 season. The 66.6 points per game allowed was the fewest points allowed by the Seminoles in a single season since 1963-64. Florida State also finished second in the ACC and seventh in the nation in field goal percentage defense. Hamilton looks to return the Seminoles to greatness by welcoming one of the nation’s top recruiting classes to Tallahassee in the fall.
Hamilton’s resume is nothing short of exceptional, including such honors as two-time Big East Coach of the Year and United Press International Coach of the Year. Before arriving at Florida State, Hamilton led the University of Miami to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances for the first time in the school’s history. In his ten seasons with the Hurricanes, he brought the nameless program national respect and recognition. Hamilton also led Oklahoma State to the National Invitation Tournament three times and coached the NBA’s Washington Wizards.