Photo Courtesy of EKU Sports

EKU hires A.W. Hamilton as men’s basketball coach

By Jordan Taylor

Eastern Progress
4 min readMar 28, 2018


Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball program now has a sense of direction for its future, after A.W. Hamilton was hired as head basketball coach on March 23. Hamilton is a Kentucky native who was most recently the assistant coach for North Carolina State University.

“Head coaching experience, knowledge of Kentucky and a fit within the Eastern Kentucky University and Richmond communities,” were the principles for identifying a new men’s basketball coach said director of athletics Stephen Lochmueller in a press release for EKU Sports. After hiring Hamilton, Lochmueller said he is excited about the future of EKU men’s basketball.

“His knowledge of the game, recruiting prowess and focus on well-being and development of student-athletes were obvious,” Lochmueller said. “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!”

While assistant coach at North Carolina State for the 2017–2018 season, Hamilton helped lead the Wolfpack to the NCAA tournament with a 21–12 record, which included three wins over top-ten ranked opponents. The one season Hamilton spent at North Carolina State was a brief reunion with his mentor Kevin Keatts, who is currently North Carolina State’s head coach. Keatts also coached Hamilton throughout his playing career and was head coach at every point of Hamilton’s coaching career where he was an assistant coach other than one season where he was a graduate assistant.

Before Hamilton was an assistant coach at North Carolina State, he was the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia, from 2011 to 2017. Under Hamilton’s leadership, Hargrave remained one of the top prep basketball programs in the country. In his six-year tenure, Hamilton compiled a record of 237–22 at Hargrave. His teams averaged 40 wins per season. Hargrave also won the 2016 National Prep Championship.

Hamilton’s Hargrave teams achieved feats, such as setting the school record for wins in a season in 2016 with 47 wins and the school record for points in a single game in 2017 with 163 points. Hamilton’s 2015–16 team averaged 114 points per game. Across the 2015–16 and 2016–17 seasons, Hargrave won 45 straight games and went 364 days between losses. Hamilton was also named the National Prep Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016.

Before becoming Hargrave’s head coach, Hamilton served under Keatts as an assistant coach at Hargrave from 2006 to 2011. During the 11 seasons that Hamilton was on staff at Hargrave, the program produced 113 NCAA Division I players, 33 NCAA Division II players, one McDonald’s All-American, one Parade All-American and nine NBA players. Hamilton was also inducted into the Hargrave Military Academy Basketball Hall of Fame on September 21, 2017.

Hamilton began his playing career in his hometown of Georgetown, Kentucky, and went on to be a star player at Scott County High School in the late 1990s, where he led the Cardinals to a state championship in 1998 and a state runner-up finish in 1999. Hamilton was named first-team All-State and played in the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Game following his senior season. He was inducted into the Scott County High School Athletic Hall of Fame on September 4, 2015.

During the 1999–2000 season, Hamilton was the starting point guard under Coach Keatts at Hargrave Military Academy, where he led the team to a 23–3 record and a №2 national ranking. Hamilton then signed a full scholarship to play basketball at Wake Forest University, where he attended school for a year and a half.

After his time at Wake Forest, Hamilton transferred to Marshall University, where he was a three-year captain (2002–05) and led the team in assists, steals and minutes played in all three of his seasons. Hamilton was once again reunited with Keatts in his first season at Marshall while Keatts was an assistant coach there. Hamilton still ranks in the top 10 in Marshall history in assists and in the top 20 in steals. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Marshall in 2005, Hamilton served as a graduate assistant at Marshall during the 2005–06 season.

“A.W. Hamilton is one of the elite recruiters and young coaches in the country,” Evan Daniels, college basketball insider for Fox Sports, said in a press release with EKU Sports. “His connections with AAU programs have boosted his ability to land marquee recruits at Hargrave, along with NC State. Eastern Kentucky will flourish under Coach Hamilton’s leadership.”



Eastern Progress

Eastern Kentucky University’s independent student newspaper since 1922