Former UM Coach Hamilton to Join Seminoles

March 19, 2002

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)Leonard Hamilton will be hired as Florida State’sbasketball coach Tuesday after rebuilding programs at Oklahoma State and Miami,The Associated Press has learned.

The school scheduled an afternoon news conference to announce its new coach.

Hamilton will succeed Steve Robinson, a source close to the program told theAP, speaking on condition of anonymity. Robinson was fired last week after fourconsecutive losing seasons.

Hamilton also briefly coached the Washington Wizards. He helped reviveOklahoma State and took Miami to three NCAA appearances and two NIT tournamentsbetween 1990 and 2000.

He was 144-147 with Miami but he took the program from the bottom of the BigEast to its first round of 16 in the 2000 NCAA tournament.

Hamilton was twice named Big East coach of the year while at Miami and wasknown for creating intense, defense-oriented players.

He left behind a solid recruiting class for successor Perry Clark, includingthe nucleus of this season’s NCAA tournament team.

In 2000, Michael Jordan, then president of the Wizards, lured Hamilton tothe NBA. Hamilton resigned after one season in which the team finished 19-63,the third worst in the league that year.

Hamilton is 200-210 in 14 college seasons, including a 64-28 record in thelast three years at Miami. The Seminoles finished 12-17 last season.

Robinson was 64-86 in five years at Florida State, but just 46-72 over thelast four seasons and 25-55 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Florida State scored perhaps the biggest upset of the season – and thebiggest in school history – when it ended Duke’s 22-game winning streak with a77-76 victory on Jan. 6. But the Seminoles went 4-12 after that game.

Despite a soft nonconference schedule designed to help shore up Robinson’sjob, Florida State made only marginal improvement on last year’s 9-21 record -the school’s worst in 50 years.

A coaching change had been expected since the Seminoles were upset twice inDecember by American and Western Carolina.

The team hit a low point in the ACC in late January when Georgia Tech, whichwas winless in the conference, defeated the Seminoles 77-46.

Each of Robinson’s teams at Florida State struggled late in the season,managing only a 9-27 record in February.