The ACC is on the verge of becoming the dominant power league in college basketball. In adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville in 2014, the historically Tobacco Road-centered league is expanding its geographic reach to add a few more NCAA tournament regulars that should keep the ACC near the top of any conference rankings list for the foreseeable future.
The rest of the league’s members will need to step up their game to stay in the hunt, and on Wednesday, Florida State stabilized its future in the re-tooled league by signing head coach Leonard Hamilton to a contract extension through 2016-17.
FSU athletics issued an official release formalizing the deal:
"We are excited to have Coach Hamilton continue to lead our basketball program at Florida State through the 2016-17 season," said Barron. "Coach Hamilton has led this program to unprecedented success including the first ACC Championship in school history and eight straight postseason appearances. He is the second-longest tenured coach in the conference and under his leadership FSU is in excellent position entering the new ACC, which is the strongest basketball conference in the nation."
In his 11 years at FSU, Hamilton has guided the Seminoles out of football-obscured mediocrity into a consistent top-half ACC outfit. He was named ACC coach of the year in 2009 and 2012, guided the Seminoles to four NCAA tournament appearances –- including a Sweet 16 berth in 2011 –- and helped mold a number of NBA players (including Kings guard Toney Douglas, Mavericks center Bernard James and wizards forward Chris Singleton) along the way.
Making Florida State a steadily competitive basketball entity was the first challenge. Hamilton has exceeded that baseline and then some. Last season’s baffling 18-16 campaign was a minor low-point, but in the larger context of Hamilton’s 11-year tenure, ultimately nothing more than a minor blip in an otherwise successful era of FSU hoops. The Seminoles have grown immensely under Hamilton’s watch, and moving into the league one legendary coach believes might go down as the greatest of all time, full stop, is a well-reasoned decision.