OFFICIAL: Hamilton named Head Coach at D3 Franklin College

Following up on something that I first mentioned on 4/22 (D3 DIRT). Franklin College has officially named Chris Hamilton as their new head men’s basketball coach. Here’s the official statement from the college:

Franklin College Director of Athletics Andrew Hendricks has announced the addition of Chris Hamilton as the new head coach of the men’s basketball program.

A veteran at the Division III level as both a coach and a player, Hamilton comes to Franklin following a four-year tenure at Nebraska Wesleyan University under two-time NCAA DIII Coach of the Year Dale Wellman.

“It’s an honor to receive the opportunity to become a member of the Franklin College community,” Hamilton said. “Franklin College basketball has a rich and storied tradition of excellence dating back over 100 years in the heart of Indiana. From the “Wonder Five” to the capture of multiple HCAC Championships, this program has cultivated a standard of success that we will work relentlessly to sustain and elevate on and off the court. I would like to thank President Kerry N. Prather and Director of Athletics Andrew Hendricks for the opportunity and I am eager to get started.”

“The people and the program will benefit greatly from Coach Hamilton’s charisma, commitment, and level of care,” Hendricks added. “It is clear Chris has an appreciation for the history of Indiana basketball and Franklin College’s program specifically, and he paints a great picture for how he plans to successfully and competitively lead the program into the future. His record as a player and coach foreshadows much to come for the Grizzlies. We are very excited to welcome Chris and his fiancé, Miranda, into the Franklin family.”

During his time on the Nebraska Wesleyan bench, the Prairie Wolves went 69-21 with a 43-15 record in American Rivers Conference (ARC) play, winning the league’s regular season and conference tournament championships in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The Prairie Wolves finished atop Division III in offensive efficiency in 2019 and 2020, and ranked in the top-10 in field goal percentage defense in 2021.

He assisted Wellman in all facets of the Prairie Wolves’ program and had a hand in developing three ARC Players of the Year and two finalists for the Jostens NCAA Division III Most Outstanding Player of the Year. In addition to his coaching duties, Hamilton also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach, working primarily with both basketball and soccer programs.

“I applaud the work of the search committee and am excited to welcome Chris to the Franklin College family,” Franklin College President Kerry Prather said. “He brings impressive experience from championship-caliber Division III programs both as a player and as a coach.  I am confident he is the right person to continue the Franklin legacy of attracting quality student-athletes to Franklin and guiding them to success on and off the court.”

Hamilton began his college basketball career at Division III powerhouse Randolph-Macon College, first as a player from 2011-15 and then as an assistant coach from 2016-18. During his time on the Yellow Jackets’ coaching staff, he helped guide the team to two conference regular season championships with two teams that ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring defense.

As a player, he helped the Yellow Jackets to a 90-27 record over his four years with two conference regular season and conference tournament titles each. He ended his time on the roster with the sixth-most three-pointers in program history at 171 and was a 43.5% shooter from deep. A two-time academic all-conference selection, Hamilton earned his bachelor’s degree in Business/Economics from Randolph-Macon in 2015.

He began his coaching career at Division I Mount St. Mary’s as a graduate assistant in 2015-16, where he completed his Master of Science degree in Sports Management.

“This opportunity would not be possible without the incredible teachers I’ve had on my coaching journey,” Hamilton added. “Between Coach Davis, Coach Christian, Coach Merkel, and Coach Wellman, I’ve been fortunate to see four examples of how to engineer a championship environment, on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.”

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