FSU’s Leonard Hamilton may miss NCAAs, but gets 2-year extension

Leonard Hamilton is the all-time leader in wins as a coach for the Florida State men’s basketball program, and he’ll get a chance to add to that mark in the coming years.

Hamilton and Florida State agreed to a two-year contract extension that will make him the Seminoles’ coach through the 2018-19 season.

“We have made a substantial investment in basketball here at FSU, and that commitment is visible to anyone who walks into the Tucker Center these days because construction is ongoing,” Florida State president John Thrasher said. “With that kind of commitment come higher expectations. Leonard has taken our program to great heights during his time here, and we believe and expect that he will again. This extension represents our belief that he will put a first class team on the court, and our continuing commitment to that belief.”

Florida State basketball has had an up-and-down season thus far, and at 16-11 they’re pretty much directly on the bubble. It’s a bit of a letdown given the increased expectations due not only to the aforementioned investment in basketball, but also due to the level of recruits the Seminoles have been able to amass. Hamilton and his staff were able to bring in a top-35 class in 2013, a top-10 class in 2015, and are on pace to bring in another top-10 class in 2016. The trajectory of players is certainly on its way up in Tallahassee, which helps make an extension more palatable despite a roller coaster ride in 2016.

It’s a difficult predicament for all parties if a coach has one year remaining on his contract. The coach struggles with recruiting, and the administration is constantly bombarded with questions regarding the future of the program. So that’s why a short-term extension like this makes sense despite a rougher season than expected and despite the fact that Hamilton hasn’t led the team to the NCAA Tournament in the last three years prior. The administration likely doesn’t want to disrupt the strong recruiting cycle, and Hamilton has shown success in the past with lesser talent. Plus, at 67, Hamilton isn’t exactly the youngest guy around, and in three years he may be ready to move on from the full-time rigors of coaching.

This was the right move from Florida State. Even if things take a turn for the worse in the next few years, a short term deal like this isn’t going to be overly damaging to the program or athletic department if they need to go in a different direction.

It’s a low-risk move that could end up paying dividends if the results start to match the talent level.

Leonard Hamilton will be patrolling the sidelines for Florida State for a few more years. (USATSI)
Leonard Hamilton will be patrolling the sidelines for Florida State for a few more years. (USATSI)

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