Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball head coach A.W. Hamilton signed a two-year contract extension on Thursday according to EKU vice president and director of athletics Matt Roan.
The extension will keep the 2020 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in Richmond through at least the 2023-24 season.
“In two short years, A.W. has done a phenomenal job returning our men’s basketball program back among the best in the OVC. Having worked together previously and knowing him before I arrived, this is not at all surprising,” Roan said in a press release. “He has engaged and energized our fan base and he and his family have immersed themselves fully into the Richmond and EKU communities. He recruits high-quality, high-potential student-athletes and he has surrounded himself with exceptional assistant coaches who support one another and develop the young men in the program. I am fired up to watch the growth and success of A.W. and EKUHoops for years to come.”
Along with being named the OVC Coach of the Year, Hamilton was voted as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 18 Coach of the Year.
Hamilton led the Colonels to an impressive turnaround in the 2019-20 season. Following a 6-12 OVC campaign in 2018-19, the Colonels went 12-6 this year, earning a No. 4 seed and reaching the semifinals of the OVC Tournament.
EKU’s 12 conference wins this season are tied for the second-most in program history. The 2019-20 Colonels are one of only four EKU teams ever to win 12 or more OVC games, joining the 1964-65 (13), 2006-07 (13) and 2012-13 (12) teams.
Following a tough non-conference slate, Hamilton rallied EKU to a 9-2 conference start. It was the Colonels’ best OVC start in 41 years.
“My staff and our student-athletes are a huge piece to what makes us go, and I am grateful for each and every one of them,” Hamilton said in a press release. “As we head into year three, with our brand of basketball firmly in place, this extension allows us to continue being ambassadors for EKU in the classroom, in the community and on the court.”
Hamilton is a Georgetown, KY native and in his two seasons at EKU he has installed a fast-paced offense and pressure defense that ranked fifth nationally in forced turnovers (18.2 per-game), seventh in steals (9.3 per-game) and 10th in turnover margin (+4.3) this season.
Last season, EKU ranked second nationally in both steals (10.2 per-game) and forced turnovers (18.2 per-game), as well as 13th nationally in scoring (82.6 points per-game).
Under Hamilton, EKU has shattered the school record for points scored in a game (145) and the OVC record for points scored in a half (87).
“Chelsea and I are ecstatic to know we are home for many years to come,” Hamilton said in a press release. “As a Kentucky native there is no better honor in my eyes than being able to lead a basketball program in the Commonwealth. I love that our program is representing the city of Richmond every time we take the floor. The commitment being made to our program from the administration, fans, and students resonates directly with our team. Our guys fed off the positive energy we received all throughout our conference season, and we want to continue to build on that.”
Hamilton is excited for the future of the men’s basketball program and even after being eliminated in the OVC Tournament he had his eyes set on improving for next season.
“We’re excited about the young players we got in our program, we’re excited about our recruiting class. We’re going to be back next year with our young guys and now they got experience playing in this game,” said Hamilton after the OVC Tournament semifinal loss. “I’m really excited about the direction of our program. I’m proud to be the coach at Eastern Kentucky.”