A.W. Hamilton

CHAMPIONS!  A.W. Hamilton led EKU to the 2023-24 Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship.  It was the first regular season conference title for the Colonels in 45 years (1979) and the seventh in program history.  Hamilton was chosen as the ASUN Coach of the Year and the NABC District III Coach of the Year.  He is the first coach in program history to be named conference coach of the year two times.
Hamilton has taken Colonel basketball to heights very few coaches who came before him have reached.  In many cases he has accomplished what no EKU men’s basketball head coach has ever done.
In his first six seasons as head coach, the Colonels broke 68 program records.  In 2022-23, Hamilton led the team to 23 wins, the third most in one season in program history.  In 2020-21, EKU won 22 games, tied for the fourth-most in program history.  That means Hamilton has coached two of the five winningest teams ever in addition to one of only seven regular season conference championship teams.  He is one of only three coaches in program history to lead the Colonels to multiple 20-win seasons.  Hamilton is the only EKU coach to lead his team to 12 or more conference wins in a season four different times.
Hamilton’s brand of basketball – “The Most Exciting 40 Minutes in Sports” – has resonated with Colonel fans.  A new record for season tickets was set in 2021-22 and again in 2022-23.  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 in 2022-23, the first time a Colonel team had ever led its conference in attendance, and then led the league in attendance again in 2023-24.

AW Hamilton vs NKU
Hamilton was chosen as the conference & district coach
of the year in 2020 and 2024

As part of “The Most Exciting 40 Minutes In Sports”, in three of the past four seasons Hamilton’s teams have led the 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, 30th in 2022-23 and 29th in 2023-24 with an average of 81 points per game. 
In five of Hamilton’s six 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 six 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 May of 2023, Eastern Kentucky University secured Hamilton’s place as leader of the program with a contract extension through the 2026-27 season.
“I am beyond thankful for Eastern Kentucky University, Board Chair Michael Eaves, the entire Board of Regents 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 six 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 six 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 six seasons as head coach, Hamilton has tutored nine all-conference selections, a conference player of the year, a conference defensive player of the year, three all-freshman/newcomer honorees and two conference all-tournament picks.
2023-24 Season
Multiple national preseason publications, and two preseason polls conducted by the league office, picked the Colonels to win the ASUN Conference in 2023-24.  CollegeInsider.com had the Colonels ranked as the 20th-best team in their Preseason Mid Major Top 25.  EKU won its first seven conference games, which tied the best start to conference play in program history.  No squad had started the league schedule with seven straight wins since 1959-60.

A win over Jacksonville on Jan. 25 was Hamilton’s 97th as coach of the Colonels.  He moved past Max Good (96) as the fourth winningest coach in program history.  Paul McBrayer (214), Jeff Neubauer (188) and Rome Rankin (135) make up the top three.  Hamilton finished his sixth season with 104 wins.
The Colonels set a new program mark for blocks in a game with 13 against Troy on Nov. 27.  For the second straight season, the team set a new single season blocks record with 190.  This squad also set a new mark with 6.13 blocks per game.  EKU was fifth in the nation in blocks per game, 14th in rebounds per game (40.13), 17th in offensive rebounds per game (13.23) and 29th in scoring (80.8/game).

Baptist Health Arena
Under Hamilton, EKU has led the ASUN Conference in attendance
each of the last two years.

In his second year in the program, Isaiah Cozart turned in one of the most impressive seasons in program history under Hamilton’s guidance.  Cozart was chosen as the ASUN Player of the Year and the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year.  He was the unanimous selection as defensive player of the year and the first player in conference history to earn player and defensive player of the year recognition in the same season.  Cozart was also chosen First Team All-ASUN, First Team NABC All-District and played in the Reese’s Division I All-Star Game in Phoenix during the Final Four.  Following the season, Cozart was selected as a finalist for the 2024 Lou Henson National Mid-Major Player of the Year Award and the 2024 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award.  In April, he was invited to the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational, a pre-NBA Draft Combine tournament.

All these honors came after Cozart averaged 15.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.87 blocks per game while shooting 65 percent from the field.  He led the NCAA in blocks (116) and blocks per game.  He ranked fifth in the nation in offensive rebounds (4.10/game), sixth in field goal percentage, 17th in rebounding and 26th in double-doubles (14).  He recorded EKU’s first ever triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks against Troy.

Cozart finished the 2023-24 season with 467 points and 301 rebounds, just the sixth time in program history a player has eclipsed 400 points and 300 rebounds in the same season.  He was the first EKU player to average a double-double since 1995-96.  That feat has now only been accomplished 25 times in program history and only four times since 1978-79.
The Richmond native left EKU as the program record holder for career field goal percentage, blocks in a season, blocks in a game and career blocks.
In addition to Cozart’s success on the court, one of Hamilton’s first recruits concluded his decorated career.  Michael Moreno ended his career first in program history in 3-pointers made (334) and games played (161), second in rebounds (958), sixth in scoring (1,631) and eighth in steals (168).  During EKU’s game at Stetson on Moreno grabbed his 900th career rebound becoming the only player in program history with 1,500 points and 900 rebounds.
Leland Walker earned First Team All-ASUN honors and Second Team NABC All-District recognition.  He set a new program record with 16 assists in a game.  Devontae Blanton, the 2023 ASUN Preseason Player of the Year, earned Third Team All-ASUN honors.  John Ukomadu finished second in the 2024 College Slam Dunk Championship in Phoenix.

2022-23 Season
In 2022-23, Hamilton led the Colonels to the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).  It was the program’s first national postseason tournament title game ever and the first time in 78 years that an EKU team won three games in a national tournament.
Despite being picked to finish 10th in the ASUN Conference in 2022-23, the Colonels placed third.  EKU led all NCAA Division I teams in Kentucky in wins (23).  The squad broke 19 program records, including points in a season, blocks in a season, field goals in a season and games played.  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.
Moreno set single game program records for 3-pointers (11) and 3-point attempts (22) in 2022-23.  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.

AW Hamilton
Hamilton with all-time leading scorer Nick Mayo

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.

2021-22 Season
Hamilton reached a special milestone during the 2021-22 season.  EKU’s win over North Alabama on Feb. 16, 2022, was Hamilton’s 300th victory as a head coach. 
The Colonels broke program records that season for 3-pointers in a game (25), 3-pointers attempted in a game (51), 3-pointers made (363) and attempted (1,029) in a season, and 3-point field goals in a road game (18). 
EKU ranked second in the country in turnover margin (+5.84), third in 3-pointers per game (11.71), fourth in steals per game (10.19), seventh in turnovers forced (17.42) and 19th in offensive rebounds (12.58).  The team led the ASUN in all those categories as well.
2020-21 Season
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.  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.  The Colonels also led the nations in steals (10.3 per game).
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.
Wendell Green Jr. broke the single game assist record, the freshman record for assists in a season and was selected to the Freshman All-America Team in 2020-21.  .
2019-20 Season
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.  It was the first time since 1987 an EKU coach was chosen as the conference coach of the year. 
In addition to leading the country in steals, the Colonels ranked second in turnovers forced per game, second in turnover margin, second in tempo/pace and eighth in scoring.

2018-19 Season
The Georgetown, Kentucky native was hired as Eastern Kentucky University’s 21st men’s basketball head coach on March 23, 2018. 
In his first season at the helm, Hamilton brought “The Most Exciting 40 Minutes in Sports” to Richmond.  The Colonels played an up-tempo style of basketball, ranking 13th in the country in scoring at 82.6 points per game.  On Dec. 29, 2018, EKU shattered the program’s single-game scoring record with 145 points in a win over Brescia University.  In the process, the Colonels broke the conference record for points in a half with 87.
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

A.W. Hamilton
Hamilton starred at Scott County High
in the late 1990s

“There isn’t a better place to be the head coach than at Eastern Kentucky University,” Hamilton said.  “The opportunity to come home and coach at a place like this is one that I cannot truly put into words.”

Before EKU
A former prep star at Scott County High School, Hamilton spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach under Kevin Keatts at North Carolina State University.  He helped lead the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament with a 21-12 record, including wins over No. 2 Arizona, No. 2 Duke and No. 10 North Carolina.
Before joining Keatts in Raleigh, Hamilton was the head coach of one of the top prep basketball programs in the country, Hargrave Military Academy, from 2011 to 2017.  Hargrave reached unprecedented levels of success during Hamilton’s six-year tenure, compiling a record of 237-22, averaging 40 wins per season and winning the 2016 National Prep Championship.

Hamilton’s Hargrave teams posted eye-popping numbers, setting the school record for wins in a season (47, 2016) and points scored in a single game (163, 2017).  His 2015-16 squad averaged 114 points per game.  Across the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, the Tigers won 45 straight games and went 364 days between losses.  Hamilton was named the National Prep Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016.
Before being named head coach at Hargrave, Hamilton was an assistant under Keatts at the school from 2006 to 2011.  During Hamilton’s 11 years with the program, Hargrave produced 113 NCAA Division I players, one McDonald’s All-American, one Parade All-American and nine NBA players.  On Sept. 21, 2017, Hamilton was inducted into the Hargrave Military Academy Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hamilton starred at Scott County High School in the late 1990s, leading the Cardinals to a state championship in 1998 and a state runner-up finish in 1999.  He was named first team all-state and played in the prestigious Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Game following his senior season.  On Sept. 4, 2015, Hamilton was inducted into the Scott County High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Hamilton was the starting point guard for Keatts at Hargrave Military Academy during the 1999-2000 season, leading the Tigers to a 23-3 record and a No. 2 national ranking.  While at Hargrave, Hamilton signed a full scholarship to play basketball at Wake Forest University.
After a year and a half at Wake Forest, Hamilton transferred to Marshall University.  He was a three-year captain for the Thundering Herd (2002-05), and led the team in assists, steals and minutes played all three seasons he was there.  Hamilton ranks in the top 10 in school history in assists and in the top 20 in steals.  Following his playing days in Huntington, Hamilton served as Marshall’s graduate assistant for one season (2005-06).

Hamilton earned a bachelor’s of science in communications from Marshall in 2005.

What Others are Saying About A.W. Hamilton …
“A.W. Hamilton is an outstanding hire by EKU.  His track record in prep school and path to becoming a head coach is identical to current N.C. State Head Coach Kevin Keatts.”
 – Adam Finkelstein, Scout/Recruiting Analyst, ESPN  

Hamilton was a three-year team captain
at Marshall (2002-05)

“I have never had a better leader in all my years of coaching than A.W. Hamilton.  He’s an excellent coach and teacher of the game of basketball.”
 – Billy Hicks, Former Head Coach, Scott County High School
“A.W. Hamilton is one of the elite recruiters and young coaches in the country.  His connections with AAU programs have boosted his ability to land marquee recruits at Hargrave, along with N.C. State.  Eastern Kentucky will flourish under Coach Hamilton’s leadership.”
 – Evan Daniels, Former 247Sports National Recruiting Director 

“A.W. Hamilton is a man of high character, strong family values, and integrity.  His coaching success at Hargrave wasn’t just measured by wins on the court.  It directly tied to helping our young men understand that character, responsibility, and leadership are the key components to becoming winners in life.  I’ve never witnessed a faster or more exciting brand of basketball than A.W.’s.”
 –  Brigadier General Doyle D. “Don” Broome, Jr. (U.S. Army Ret.), Former Hargrave Military Academy President 

“A.W. Hamilton is the definition of consistency and effort.  He understands the value of hard work and treating people right, all while getting the best out of everybody around him on a day-to-day basis.  His attention to detail and competitive edge will be seen through his players by how hard they play for each other and Eastern Kentucky University.”
 – Kevin Keatts, Head Coach, North Carolina State University


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