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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager

 

Middlesboro, KY 40965

606-248-7859

Bob.Dixon@kyfb.com

Go Big Blue!

EKU Extends A.W. Hamilton's Contract

RICHMOND, Ky. Eastern Kentucky University secured men’s basketball head coach A.W. Hamilton with a contract extension through the 2026-27 season, Vice President and Director of Athletics Matt Roan announced today.

A.W. Hamilton (EKU Athletics Photo)

This past season, Hamilton led the Colonels to the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). EKU’s 23 wins were the third-most in one season in program history and the second 20-win campaign in the last three years for Hamilton’s teams. He is one of only three coaches in program history to lead the Colonels to multiple 20-win seasons.

Hamilton was a finalist for the 2023 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award which honors coaches who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off it as well.

“I’m pleased to make this announcement of the continued partnership and commitment between EKU and Coach Hamilton,” Roan said. “The success he has fostered – combined with his love and passion for EKU basketball and the ability to connect with our campus community, the Richmond and Madison County communities, people throughout the state, and especially our student-athletes – has helped create unprecedented excitement around Colonel basketball. We are fired up to compete for championships with Coach Hamilton leading our program.”

In his five seasons as head coach, Hamilton has guided his teams to 87 wins. In the past four seasons, the Colonels have received two national postseason tournament invitations and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals three times. Hamilton is the first EKU head coach to lead his team to 12 or more conference wins in a season three different times.

Despite being picked to finish 10th in the ASUN Conference this past season, the Colonels placed third and advanced to the ASUN final four. EKU led all NCAA Division I teams in Kentucky in wins. The team’s appearance in the CBI championship game was the program’s first national postseason tournament title game trip ever. It was the first time in 78 years that a Colonel team won three games in a national postseason tournament.

“I am beyond thankful for Eastern Kentucky University, Board Chair Michael Eaves, the entire Board of Regents, Athletics Director Matt Roan and President Dr. David McFaddin,” said Hamilton. “It is an honor to represent the best university in the country as its men’s basketball coach. The staff and players we’ve had the last five years have made a major impact in my life, and helped us make incredible strides with the program. I could write a book on how invested, supportive and loving our fans have been with us, game in and game out, over the last five years. Leading the conference in attendance for the first time in school history is a great example of that. My wife Chelsea and our kids are so invested in Madison County and thankful to be here for years to come.”

In his first five seasons as head coach, Hamilton’s teams have broken 49 program records.

The success of his teams on the court is the result of unprecedented success in recruiting that Hamilton and his staff have brought to EKU. The 2022 recruiting class, the highest ranked EKU class ever, was ranked as high as 65th in the nation by 247Sports, higher than such programs as Kansas State, Pittsburgh, national champion Connecticut, Georgia and Oklahoma State. The class included the program’s first-ever ESPN four-star freshman recruit, a former four-star high school prospect, a three-star freshman point guard, a former three-star high school forward, a three-star freshman center, a junior college All-American and Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball, the first to come to EKU as a freshman since 1980.

In today’s college basketball landscape with the addition of the transfer portal, the challenge for head coaches isn’t just to recruiting talented players – it’s getting them to stay. Hamilton has the core of the successful 2022-23 team – Michael Moreno, Devontae Blanton, Isaiah Cozart, Tayshawn Comer and Leland Walker – committed to return next season.

Since the end of the season, Hamilton’s strong recruiting pitch has secured another former ESPN four-star recruit, and a Division I transfer with 119 three-pointers the last two seasons, to compliment the returning group of Colonels.

Hamilton’s brand of basketball – the Most Exciting 40 Minutes in Sports – has resonated with Colonel fans. A new record for season tickets has been set each of the last two years. The crowd of 6,303 for the game against Western Kentucky on Nov. 10, 2022 was the largest in more than 20 seasons. EKU led the ASUN in average home attendance with 3,533 fans per game at Baptist Health Arena, the first time a Colonel team has ever led its conference in attendance.

As part of the Most Exciting 40 Minutes In Sports, in each of the past three seasons Hamilton’s teams have led their conference in scoring. EKU was the eighth highest scoring team in the nation in 2020-21, averaging more than 80 points per game, the 16th highest scoring team in 2021-22 and 30th in 2022-23.

In each of Hamilton’s five seasons as head coach the Colonels have led the conference in steals and turnovers forced, ranking among the top-10 in the nation four of the last five years. In addition to scoring, steals and turnovers forced, EKU has consistently been among the conference and national leaders in assists and 3-pointers as well.

In 2020-21 Hamilton was a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award after leading the Colonels to a 22-7 mark and winning the most conference games in program history (15). The team ranked as high as No. 12 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 and concluded that season ranked 25th.

Those 22 wins are tied for the fourth-most in program history, which means Hamilton coached teams now have two of the five winningest seasons ever by an EKU team. The .759 winning percentage in 2020-21 was the best by a Colonel team since 1964-65, and was the highest winning percentage by any NCAA Division I team in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that season. The squad began the 2020-21 campaign with a 14-2 mark, the best start for an EKU team in 74 years.

During the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, the Colonels won 27 conference games combined which is the most-ever for the program during a two-year period.

Following a 6-12 conference record in his first season, Hamilton reversed those numbers to the tune of a 12-6 league mark in 2019-20. He was chosen as the conference and NABC District Coach of the Year.

Players have excelled under Hamilton’s guidance. Nick Mayo had the best season of his decorated career in 2018-19, ranking 10th in the country in scoring and becoming the first Colonel since 2002 to drop 40 points in a game. Wendell Green Jr. broke the single game assist record and was selected to the Freshman All-America Team in 2020-21. Michael Moreno has climbed to third in program history in 3-pointers made, 10th in rebounds and 15th in scoring. Devontae Blanton capped the 2022-23 season by earning first team All-ASUN honors, first team NABC All-District recognition, and ASUN and CBI All-Tournament distinction.

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