Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, 71, able to face Pitt with no trace of retirement

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The reporter couldn’t carry himself to make use of the phrase retire when talking to the coach with 555 profession victories.

So, he requested the query in probably the most respectful method potential.

“Did the ‘R’ phrase ever cross your thoughts?” he mentioned, addressing Leonard Hamilton on Monday on the ACC basketball coaches convention name.

“What’s the `R’ phrase?” Florida State’s 71-year-old coach requested.

“Retirement,” the reporter mentioned.

Hamilton loved a hearty giggle earlier than answering.

“You already know what? Completely not,” he mentioned. “So long as I can keep in mind their names and skim the numbers on their jerseys, I’m going to hold on. I take pleasure in what I do. I take pleasure in working with younger individuals.

“I feel I’m going to be right here for some time, should you guys don’t me run me off.”

He’ll attempt to add to his enjoyment at Pitt’s expense Tuesday night time in a rematch of a sport Pitt gained, 63-61, on Nov. 6. Hamilton’s Seminoles, (21-4, 11-Three within the ACC and ranked No. eight within the nation by the Related Press) will welcome the Panthers (15-11, 6-9) to the Donald L. Tucker Heart in Tallahassee, Fla. Tipoff is eight p.m.

If he by no means coaches one other sport, Hamilton could have lived a full life, a lot of it both with a basketball in his fingers or instructing others what to do with it.

As a participant, he scored 54 factors in a sport for Gaston (N.C.) School.

As a revered head coach in 4 a long time and with three Division I faculties, he delivered the graduation handle at Chipola (Fla.) School in 2016.

He even coached the NBA’s Washington Wizards for one season (2000-01), working for president of basketball operations Michael Jordan. He resigned after ending 19-63.

The school sport has been a lot kinder. Stretching again into the 1970s, he was an assistant for 12 seasons below the legendary Joe B. Corridor at Kentucky earlier than resurrecting applications at Oklahoma State and Miami.

He’s been at Florida State since 2002, compiling a 355-220 file in 18 seasons. By the tip of this season, he’ll have guided his FSU groups into 15 NCAA or NIT tournaments and gained at the very least 20 video games 5 consecutive instances.

“It appears to have fallen into rhythm the final variety of years right here at Florida State,” he mentioned.

“I’ve by no means been in a state of affairs the place I may essentially get McDonald’s All-People and all the nice gamers. So, we at all times felt if we had all good gamers and performed with plenty of vitality and defended and performed with an unselfish spirit, we may discover a approach to compete.”

Hamilton is the fifth-oldest coach in Division I basketball, however solely No. Three within the ACC behind Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, 75, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, 73.

Pitt’s Jeff Capel remembers his father, Jeff Capel II, coming dwelling from Nike journeys and coaches’ conventions, speaking about Hamilton.

Capel, the son, mentioned he has admired Hamilton for a few years.

“After I was youthful, after I was a participant, you regarded round and also you didn’t see lots of people who regarded like me on the sideline in positions of management,” he mentioned.

“After I did, I instantly turned a fan of them as a result of my dad was on this occupation and he was attempting to climb that ladder.”

Capel, 45, was requested if he want to coach into his 70s.

“I don’t assume so,” he mentioned, laughing. “I’m hopeful to be lucky sufficient the place it may be my determination. That’s the factor with these guys (Krzyzewski, Boeheim, Hamilton and others). They’ve been in a position to win so it’s their determination whether or not they keep.”

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Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Evaluation workers author. You’ll be able to contact Jerry by electronic mail at [email protected] or by way of Twitter .



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