Wilkes Central High School announced Tuesday the hiring of John Hamilton as the new boys varsity basketball coach.

“I’m excited about getting back into coaching,” said Hamilton on Tuesday. “I’m all in. I’ve got good relationships with the Wilkes Central staff and I know the area. It was fortunate this job was open. I’ll do my best.”

Matt Hagaman resigned in April as the Eagle head coach, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. He had helmed the program for 15 years and compiled a record of 229-145.

Hamilton said he took a break from coaching after the fall of 2018.

He was the assistant and head basketball coach at Hickory High School from 1996 to 2004.

The Red Tornadoes went 12-14 in his only season as boys head coach in 2003-04.

“Wilkes Central is excited to have Coach Hamilton leading our men’s basketball program,” said Chuck Cannon, Wilkes Central’s athletic director, in a written statement. “He brings years of coaching experience and success both at the high school and collegiate levels with him. He understands that to be successful at a small high school like Wilkes Central, all athletic teams depend on one another and must support one another.”

Cannon added that Hamilton is actively involved in youth basketball at the recreational, travel, and middle school levels. “His plan is to immediately go on a listening tour, reestablishing relationship that he built while recruiting this area as a college coach, as well as developing new ones with current and former players and other members of the community.”

Hamilton was a four-sport athlete (basketball, baseball, track and cross country) at Sylva-Webster High School. He was a four-year starter on the basketball team and was team captain of both the basketball and baseball teams at High Point College.

He served as assistant basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University and was the head baseball coach from 1988-1996, winning league coach of the year honors twice.

Wilkes native Frank Pait replaced him as the Lenoir-Rhyne baseball coach in 1996.

Hamilton was an assistant and head basketball coach at Hickory High School from 1996-2004.

During that time, Hickory made multiple appearances in the regionals and was state runner-up in 1997.

While at Hickory, Hamilton was also the head cross country and tennis coach until the fall of 2018, winning several conference championships and coach of the year honors.

He also served as the school’s athletic director and assistant athletic director.

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