Community honors CJ Hamilton’s legendary coaching and teaching career
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With 47 years on the sidelines and countless accomplishments, the name CJ Hamilton will always ring strong in Kansas.
Hamilton was hired at Silver Lake in 1973, winning 8 state championships, 447 total wins and 39 mid-league titles.
“There are a lot of numbers that are involved and those numbers get associated with my name, but they’re really the players and communities and my assistant coaches and everybody else,” says Hamilton.
USD-372 threw a retirement celebration Friday, alongside the field that bears his name.
The voice of the Chiefs, and former Silver Lake resident, Mitch Holthus emceed the event, inviting the community to share memories.
One former player said Hamilton made a lasting impact on his life.
“After my junior year I was having some difficulty adjusting being a typical teenager coming from what I came from with the broken home and the foster system. I was having some issues with my foster mother and father so I hung out at their house a lot. I spent lost of nights there and, even in school I was talking to CJ on my down time and he was just helping me through life,” former player and friend Dan Beaty says.
Hamilton says helping his players and students was always his motivation.
“For me the most memorable times are when I’m at practice cause that’s when you get the really know the kids not only in class but some of them I haven’t had since their freshman year. So you stay in touch with them so practice is by far the most enjoyable moment for me,” says Hamilton.
Son Travis says his dad did a good job keeping his coach and teacher side at work and being dad at home.
“As the coach’s son you understood the importance of film, you go sit with him in his office, go do that kind of stuff. In the moment I don’t think you thought about it being a special moment but looking back and that was time that I was spending with my dad that not a lot of other kids were getting to spend with theirs,” Travis says.
Hamilton’s advice to new coach Logan Pegram.
“He doesn’t need anything from me he’s just gotta be himself, connect with the kids, do what he does the best and get the thing rolling. Again they’re a young team this year so there is going to be some growing pains but stay motivated and stay in tune with the kids,” says Hamilton.
Hamilton says he will take it easy during retirement and his son Travis says dad might also be busy taking care of his new dog.
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