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Seminoles announce five-year extension for Leonard Hamilton

Florida State head men's basketball coach Leonard Hamilton speaks with Anthony Polite and MJ...
Florida State head men's basketball coach Leonard Hamilton speaks with Anthony Polite and MJ Walker before they play NC State at the Donald L. Tucker Center on January 14, 2021.(MIGUEL OLIVELLA | Miguel Olivella)
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 1:41 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (247Sports) - Florida State officially announced on Monday that head basketball coach Leonard Hamilton and the University have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $11.25 million in guaranteed money, retroactive to when his previous contract expired in April 2020.

“Coach Hamilton has done so much for this basketball program and this university that it is hard to express in words,” FSU AD David Coburn said via release.  “What he does with his young men, both on and off the court, is truly remarkable.  I know both the President and I regard him as a university treasure, and he is just now getting the national recognition he has deserved for so long.  He embodies all the qualities that make a great leader, and we are proud and thrilled to have him as our coach as long as he wishes.”

Hamilton shared multiple comments, via release, about the extension and his program.

“I am grateful for the support the Board of Trustees, President Thrasher and Director of Athletics David Coburn continuously show our program’” Hamilton said via release.  “The extension of my contract means an awful lot to our basketball family and those coaches who have been with me throughout my career at Florida State.  I would especially like to thank our assistant coaches, our trusted staff and their families – Coach Stan Jones, Coach Charlton Young, Coach Steve Smith and Coach Mike Bradley for everything they do for our program each day.

“I am also thankful to the parents who have entrusted us to bring their teenagers into our program and have them leave as young men when their careers are completed.  I am also thankful for the cooperation of each of our players who have helped us build a successful basketball program.

"At Florida State, we are fortunate to play in the best basketball conference in the nation, one that is full of “blueblood” programs that have been successful for decades.  Our focus on being the “newbloods” is something we take pride in when representing Florida State University.

“The way our players conduct themselves as student-athletes is, and continues to be, an incredible source of pride for our program, especially during this pandemic period.  They have taken what it means to be true student-athletes to another level as they have remained focused and continued to make getting their degrees a priority.

“While I am proud of everything we have accomplished, there is still room for improvement, and we have so much more to accomplish.

“I would like to thank our students, our fans in Tallahassee and across the country for the support they have given us and to let them know that the best of Florida State Basketball is still to come.”

Hamilton’s deal is worth $2.25 annually, guaranteed. Per USA Today, that ranks 52nd among college basketball coaches and ninth amongst coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

His contracts have regularly been heavily incentivized as well during his time at FSU, and that is the case with this one as well, with potential incentive bonuses of up to $2.675 million. The largest individual bonus is $500,000 for winning the NCAA Championship.

Hamilton, 72, will be FSU’s head coach through the 2024-25 season under the new deal. He will be 76 years old at the time the deal concludes.

FSU is likely to earn their second consecutive ACC regular season championship when the regular season concludes at the end of this week. That accomplishment led to a bonus of $150,000 last year, and will again this year. Hamilton also earns a bonus of $200,000 for having his team reach the NCAA Tournament.

Hamilton is the all-time winningest coach in Florida State history and the fifth winningest coach in ACC history.  His Seminoles are currently 14-4 overall and in first place in the ACC with a 10-3 record.  At No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, the Seminoles are the ACC’s highest-ranked team.

Hamilton is a three-time ACC Coach of the Year, having earned the award in 2009, 2012 and 2020.

In his 19th season as FSU, Hamilton has led the Seminoles to a pair of ACC Championships (2012 and 2020) and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.  Under Hamilton, the Seminoles have advanced to the postseason 14 times with trips to the West Regional Finals (2018) and West Regional Semifinals (2019) in their last NCAA appearances.

Hamilton’s student-athlete graduation rate of just over 95 percent at FSU will improve even more as eight members of his current team will earn degrees (seven as undergraduate degrees and one as a graduate degree) this spring.  Two more players will earn graduate degrees in the summer of 2021.

“I’ve known Coach Hamilton since he was hired in 2002 when I was chair of the FSU Board of Trustees,” Florida State President John Thrasher said via release. “He exemplifies the best of college basketball in terms of developing outstanding players and great citizens. His ability to perform his job at such a high level of excellence is appreciated by the Seminole faithful, and we’re thrilled Coach Hamilton will continue to lead our program.”

Hamilton has been named the National Coach of the Year four times by four different national governing bodies.  He was named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines National Coach of the Year in 2018, the Basketball Times Coach of the Year in 2009, the BCA National Coach of the Year in 2000 and the UPI National Coach of the Year in 1995.

Hamilton has been named the ACC Coach of Year three times and Big East Coach of the Year twice. He is the only person to earn Coach of the Year honors multiple times in both the ACC and the Big East and is currently a finalist for the 2021 Naismith National Coach of the Year Award.

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