WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!!!
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We are proud to welcome the new head coach of the men’s basketball team, Kevin Hamilton, to our NYIT family! Hamilton is more than just a coach; he has lived the life of an athlete.
The Long Island native attended North Babylon High School where he lead the team to a 20-2 record in 1976, while averaging 20 points per game and being named All-Long Island. After originally planning to go to Syracuse, North Carolina or USC, he injured himself his senior year of high school and was then recruited by Jim Valvano to go to Iona College.
“Jim Valvano made many promises about how good we would be, the great teams we would play and how I would be a big part of turning the program around,” says Hamilton. “I liked the idea of being a big fish in a small pond.”
Even from the small school in New Rochelle, New York, Hamilton continued to dream big and leave a legacy. In his four seasons at Iona, Hamilton helped guide the Gaels to an impressive 84-31 overall record as well as Iona’s first two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and was inducted into the Iona Hall of Fame. He was best known for his long-range shooting and ended his career as the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,412 points. Hamilton led the team with 63 steals in just 34 games and scored a career-high 37 points in a win over Pittsburgh as the 9th best single-game performance in the history of Iona basketball. Hamilton knew he was one of the best in his position in the country, which motivated him to work harder and make strides.
After attending Iona, Hamilton went on to get drafted for the Boston Celtics in the 4th round of the 1980 NBA Draft. “I expected to get drafted and was honored to be picked by the Boston Celtics. Growing up in New York and being a huge Knick fan, it took me a few days to get over being drafted by the rival,” Hamilton says with a smile. “When I was able to speak with Red Auerbach after the draft, it became very clear to me why they were great. Red, K.C. Jones and Jimmy Rodgers along with legendary coach Bill Fitch were the people I had to go impress. I was thrilled and anxious to get going, but at the end of the day I had to be prepared to go make the team and play my best.”
Unfortunately, after being drafted Hamilton suffered an elbow injury in a preseason scrimmage that required reconstructive surgery. Although the injury ended his career, Hamilton did maintain a great relationship with Red and a few of his other teammates that made him still feel like a part of the team, who eventually went on to win the championship that season!
“It felt unbelievable to be a part of a championship team even though I didn’t get to play,” says Hamilton. “It gives you a sense of what it takes and the hard work that goes into being a champion. Those memories are some of the daily stories I tell my team hoping they will walk away with a nugget of information to use in their life. I have no regrets and was able to do something millions of athletes would love to do for just one day.”
After surgery and knowing a short career was over, Hamilton went on to work for IBM, which was the start of a great business career for him. However, he did continue to watch the Celtics success over the years, knowing that even for a short while he was there. “I’m very thankful for the life I’ve been able to live and the support from so many people throughout the years.”