TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Head Basketball Coach Leonard Hamilton, along with University of Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg will be honored at the 13th Annual Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, May 11-12. The event honors athletic celebrities while raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer research.
Hamilton, the winningest coach in Florida State basketball history, knows all too much of the pain caused by cancer.
“My grandmother died from cancer, my father, my mother and two of my brothers who I loved dearly have also been taken; so I have had a history of people in my family who have been affected by cancer.”
Hamilton’s father lost his life to cancer in 1999 at the age of 76. His mom fell victim to the disease in 2013 at the age of 95, as did his youngest brother, Barry, in 2010 at the age of 54 and his brother, Willie, in 2012 at the age of 57.
Hamilton has made it part of his life’s mission to help raise awareness through his efforts in conjunction with the NABC including the Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge and annual suits and sneakers awareness games.
Florida State advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and was ranked No. 18 in the final USA Today poll of the season. The Seminoles defeated a near-school-record six ranked teams including two in the NCAA Tournament (Xavier and Gonzaga) and finished the season with a 23-12 overall record.
Hamilton is Florida State’s all-time winningest coach with 305 career victories. He won his 300th game at Florida State and his 500th overall in Florida State’s 81-79 overtime win versus No. 11 ranked Clemson on Feb. 14, 2018 — the 42nd win over a ranked team during his tenure in Tallahassee.
Under Hamilton and since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Seminoles are the third winningest overall program in the ACC with 284 wins and are one of only four teams that have won at least 60 percent of its games. Florida State is one of only four teams in the ACC that averages at least 21 wins or more per season and is one of only three teams that has won at least 20 games in a season nine times in the last 12 years. Hamilton is the only person to be named the Coach of the Year in the ACC and the Big East twice during his career.
His desire to work hard to help find a cure is obviously personal.
“There is no doubt that my family has been affected by cancer,” said Hamilton. “We talk about it, care about others who have gone through it and try to be as encouraging as possible to those going through it. It’s life’s work and something we are committed to as a family.
“The time is now to find a solution. We can all play a part in finding the cure.”
For more information, call the Mary Kenealy Events Gala Office at (941) 350-0580