The Daily Nole

Your Thoughts Thursday: Deep NCAA Tournament Runs Are Hamilton’s Biggest Accomplishment at FSU

Jeff Romance/FSU athletics

Florida State’s basketball team is red hot. The Seminoles are 16-2 and ranked No. 5 in the country — their highest ranking since December 1972.

This week, we asked our social media followers what head coach Leonard Hamilton’s biggest accomplishment was at FSU. Topping the list was the deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.

During his tenure, Hamilton has taken FSU to the NCAA Tournament seven times and past the first weekend on three occasions. That’s the same number that FSU had in its history prior to his arrival. Under Hamilton, FSU has twice made the Sweet 16 and once, the Elite Eight.

That took 45 percent of the vote. 30 percent said delivering FSU its only ACC championship in 2012. 15 percent said coaching the team into the top 5. More than 10 percent said his many program wins records. There were 144 responses.

While the question focused on the accomplishments on the court, multiple accounts responded by recognizing his success graduating players and molding young men.

Our Take
It wasn’t the most popular pick, but we’ll go with Leonard Hamilton’s wins records at Florida State.

The reason? It speaks to his longevity and the consistency of the program.

It’s true that Florida State has hit new heights in recent seasons with three ventures into the top 10 in the last four seasons. However, many may forget the shape the program was in when Hamilton took over during the 2002-03 season.

In the previous four seasons when Hamilton arrived, FSU had finished just 46-74 overall and a dismal 19-45 in ACC play. In fact, the Seminoles had not had a winning season in conference in a decade when Hamilton arrived.

Now in his 18th season, Hamilton has had a losing record just twice and not since the 2004-05 campaign. Over that span, his teams have won at least 20 games on 11 occasions. Barring a complete meltdown, that number will go to 12 this season.

In a day and age where coaches tend to not last very long, Hamilton has spent nearly two decades at FSU and has moved into the top 5 all-time in ACC wins. The school’s all-time wins leader, FSU also set single-season records for wins (29) and ACC victories (13) during Hamilton’s tenure.

In the 13 seasons as a member of the ACC, Florida State had a winning season in conference play just twice. It’s likely to happen again this season, but in the 17 prior seasons under Hamilton, FSU has had a winning mark in ACC competition seven times. It has finished at .500 in conference on three other occasions.

While there was a time when there was a quite a clamoring to part ways with Hamilton, all the numbers indicate that FSU made the right decision keeping him around. Most of his detractors at the time lacked the knowledge from where the program had come.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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