ACC basketball: FSU’s Hamilton voted top coach
By Joedy McCreary
Associated PressFlorida State’s Leonard Hamilton has claimed coaching awards from two of the top conferences in college basketball.
Hamilton became the first person to win both Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East coach of the year awards for his career Tuesday when the ACC named him its top coach.
He was an overwhelming choice by the members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, receiving 55 of a possible 76 votes.
Boston College’s Al Skinner was second with 10 votes, followed by Wake Forest’s Dino Gaudio (six), Clemson’s Oliver Purnell (two), North Carolina’s Roy Williams (two) and Maryland’s Gary Williams (one).
Hamilton, the Big East’s coach of the year in 1995 and 1999 with Miami, guided the Seminoles to a 23-8 finish, a 10-6 mark in league play, a No. 22 national ranking and most assuredly the school’s first NCAA tournament berth since 1998.
A roster that included talented upperclassmen ó led by dynamic scorer Toney Douglas and forward Uche Echefu ó successfully blended with gifted newcomers such as Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton.
“We have a very special and unusual group of first-year players,” Hamilton said. “They bought into accepting their roles. That’s something that’s an elusive mindset, and certainly something that’s difficult to obtain. That allowed the seniors … to lead and guide the many first-year players. It’s difficult to be a leader when you don’t have guys to follow. We were void of those kinds of issues.”
Hamilton joins Pat Kennedy as the only FSU coaches to win the ACC award.