Tuesday, July 16, 2024

High school boys basketball: Eddie Hamilton named head coach at Plain Dealing

by Russell Hedges
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Former Airline head boys basketball Coach Eddie Hamilton has been named head coach at Plain Dealing.

Hamilton, who enjoyed much success at Fair Park and Southwood before moving to Airline, returns to high school coaching after serving as a volunteer assistant at Centenary College last season.

“I am honored to announce that I’ll be walking the same sidelines as my mentor and friend, the late, great David Bryant, walked,” Hamilton wrote in a post on his Facebook site.

Bryant, a member of the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, was the head boys coach at Plain Dealing from 2006-17. His teams won seven district titles.

Bryant also served as an assistant to his sister, former head girls coach Shelia Bryant-Dupree, and helped the Lady Lions win two state titles.

Hamilton replaces Sean Koeppen, who has retired.

Hamilton said taking the job at Plain Dealing wasn’t as much about a desire to return to high school coaching as it was about Plain Dealing and following in Bryant’s footsteps.

“It’s not coming back to high school,” he said. “It’s specifically going to Plain Dealing. That was the draw. Coach Dave Bryant, he was one of my closest friends. He was somebody who took time to help me learn and understand my role as a coach. So specifically going there and being able to follow in his footsteps, that was really the draw.

“It’s a special community. Just to be able to go down there and serve for the person I respected for so long. That’s special.”

Hamilton said he doesn’t know how long he will be at Plain Dealing, but he is humbled by the opportunity.

“I’m just taking it year by year,” he said.

Hamilton said his year at Centenary working with Head Coach Chris Dorsey was a learning experience.

“Going to Centenary was the perfect timing,” he said. “I can honestly say in my mind. I’m not saying I won’t eventually wind up at the college ranks. Going there and being able to watch Coach Dorsey on a day-to-day basis conduct the business of coaching, handling day-to-day affairs, watching how he handled players, it was an experience I needed to see.”

Hamilton said seeing how Dorsey managed the program was an eye-opener.

“It wasn’t just basketball,” he said. “That was the fun part. It was the management. I was able to glean a lot of lessons from him that helped grow me more. Coach Dorsey helped me to evolve and grow even more in the professionalism of coaching.”

Plain Dealing went 4-20 last season with a roster that consisted of only six players. Hamilton, who  has experience coaching at small and large schools, said he’s not worried about the challenges he may face going from a Class 5A school to a 1A school.

“I’m not looking at Plain Dealing just on the basketball side,” he said. “My attitude is, that if I work on your character then if you have some talent we’re going to win some games. Basketball is the easy part, but managing people, that’s the part that sometimes you lose sight of. But if you’re going to manage people you’ve got to manage yourself. You’ve got to learn how to carry yourself, how to be self-aware. Those are the things we get caught up in sometimes than just the game.

“I’ve been in so may different situations. I know kids just want to know you care. And that community as a whole, I believe that community just wants to be loved. So I’m looking forward to it. Just to be able to be in a community of people who just wants people around them that care. That’s my attitude. I’m going in to go care, I’m going to go serve, whatever I can do to help that school and community. Basketball, I’m not worried about that.”

Hamilton spent six years at Fair Park where he won multiple district championships.

After Fair Park converted to a middle school, Hamilton took over at Southwood in 2017. The Cowboys reached the Class 5A quarterfinals in the 2017-18 season, the first time they advanced that far since 2003.

The next season Southwood won the outright District 1-5A championship for the fusince 2003. He was 66-34 in three seasons.

Hamilton became Airline’s head coach in 2020.

In three seasons, he was 39-38 which includes a 5-13 mark in the COVID-shortened season of 2020-21.

Hamilton‘s first head coaching job was at Lakeview from 2007-09. He also served as head coach and Cloutierville Middle School and Bethune Middle School.

Hamilton is a 1998 graduate of Booker T. Washington. He graduated from Northwestern State in 2003 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Physical Education and Health. He subsequently earned a Master’s of Educational leadership degree from LSUS.

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