NCAA

How Long Has Leonard Hamilton Been at Florida State?

Although Florida State’s football team has become a disaster, Leonard Hamilton still has the Seminoles competing for national championships in college basketball.

Hamilton and the Seminoles are in the NCAA Tournament yet again. Although there have been some low points in Hamilton’s tenure at Florida State, the men’s basketball team has mostly been a pillar of success during that time.

Hamilton, who turns 73 later this year, has been at Florida State a long time. Seminoles fans of a certain age might not even know a time when Hamilton wasn’t on the sidelines.

Leonard Hamilton and Florida State are Sweet 16-bound

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Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles aren’t going down without a fight.

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, FSU managed to clinch an NCAA Tournament spot for the fourth straight year that there has been a tournament. However, the Seminoles almost certainly would have reached last year’s tournament — one that was canceled for COVID-19 reasons — given that they won the ACC’s regular-season crown.

The 2020-21 season marked another successful year for Florida State, which entered March Madness with a 16-6 record. Despite a second-round loss in the ACC Tournament, FSU secured a No. 4 seed in the East Region.

Florida State held off UNC Greensboro, 64-54, in the first round. Things went much better in the second round when FSU routed Colorado-Boulder in a 71-53 victory.

Hamilton has been at Florida State for nearly 20 years

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If you started watching Florida State in 2002, then you may not know a Seminoles world without Leonard Hamilton as the head men’s basketball coach.

Hamilton, who spent a decade coaching the Miami Hurricanes from 1990-2000, left college to coach Juwan Howard and the Washington Wizards for a year. When things didn’t work out in Washington, Hamilton returned to college and took over at FSU ahead of the 2002-03 season.

Through March 25, 2021, Hamilton is 400-227 as the Seminoles’ head coach. Florida State has made the NCAA Tournament eight times since the 2008-09 season.

Hamilton isn’t even close to being college basketball’s longest-tenured head coach, though. Jim Boeheim has been Syracuse’s head coach since 1976.

Leonard Hamilton and the Seminoles have a tough road ahead

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The opportunity has presented itself for Leonard Hamilton to bring a national title to Florida State.

Florida State, a No. 4 seed in the East Region, plays Michigan in the Sweet 16. Juwan Howard, who played for Hamilton on the Washington Wizards, is the Wolverines’ head coach.

The time for niceties will come later. Whoever wins that game will get either No. 11 UCLA or No. 2 Alabama in the Elite Eight.

FSU has only reached the Elite Eight once in Hamilton’s tenure. Michigan defeated FSU, 58-54, in March 2018.

The Seminoles have not reached the National Championship game since losing to John Wooden and UCLA in 1972. That was also the only time they reached the Final Four.

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