RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University has hired A.W. Hamilton as its 21st men’s basketball head coach, Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller announced on Friday.
EKU will hold a press conference to introduce Hamilton at a later date.
A native of Georgetown, Kentucky and 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.
“The opportunity to come home and coach at a place like Eastern Kentucky University, with first-class leadership in President Michael Benson, Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller and Board of Regents Chair Craig Turner, is one that I cannot truly put into words,” Hamilton said. “The fit is perfect for my family and me, and we look forward to building on everything EKU has to offer, both on and off the basketball court. It truly is a great day to be a Colonel.”
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.
“The process of identifying a new men’s basketball coach began with the following principles: head coaching experience, knowledge of Kentucky, and a fit within the Eastern Kentucky University and Richmond communities,” Lochmueller said. “A.W. Hamilton was one of the candidates who met all three criteria and possessed the needed skills to be successful at EKU. His knowledge of the game, recruiting prowess and focus on the well-being and development of student-athletes were obvious. His energy and passion for the game of basketball has never wavered, from Scott County High School to North Carolina State. President Benson and I welcome A.W., his wife, Chelsea, and their two daughters, Charleigh and Andi, to the EKU family!”
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, 33 NCAA Division II 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 he 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 B.S. in communications from Marshall in 2005.