Hamilton selected for Medal of Honor Bowl coaching staff

BREVARD, N.C. – Brevard head coach Paul Hamilton has been selected as a running backs coach for the second annual Medal of Honor Bowl, joining his father Rusty on the American Team coaching staff.

This year’s Medal of Honor Bowl, a collegiate all-star contest for draft-eligible seniors that draws the majority of its rosters from Division I schools in “Power Five” conferences, will be televised on NBC Sports Network. The game is scheduled to take place in Charleston, South Carolina at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium on January 10.

“It will certainly be special for my dad and I to spend this time coaching together,” said Hamilton, “especially in a national event like this. He was such a great influence on me at a young age to eventually go into the coaching profession. He and I have spent many hours studying the game of football together and I’m sure we’ll enjoy working with the staff and players associated with the Medal of Honor Bowl.”

The elder Hamilton will coach the offensive line for American Team this year after coaching in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl last season. Rusty has been a fixture of Charleston-area football for decades. He spent eight years on staff at The Citadel in the 1970s, primarily coaching the offensive line, and served as the defensive coordinator at St. Andrews and Cainhoy High Schools.

Most recently, Rusty spent 11 seasons coaching under the legendary John McKissick at Summerville High School. McKissick, a 1949 Brevard College alumnus, is America’s all-time winningest football coach at any level with 622 wins since taking over the Summerville program in 1952. Hamilton stepped away from full-time coaching following the 2004 campaign after 29 years on the sidelines.

“The directors of the bowl game felt like it would be unique for my dad and I to coach together this year,” said Brevard’s Hamilton. “Hopefully this will create even more interest in the game.”

The contest will be a homecoming of sorts for the younger Hamilton, who began his coaching career at Johnson-Hagood stadium as The Citadel’s receivers coach in 1982. “I was very blessed to start my college coaching career there and pulled for the Bulldogs many years growing up when my dad coached there,” he said. “I also had the opportunity to play there in high school and college, along with bringing many of my former teams there to play. It is and will always be a special place to me and my family.”

Joining Hamilton on the American Team coaching staff, selected by former South Carolina State head coach Willie Jeffries, will be several familiar faces. Hamilton has worked alongside fellow American Team coaches Bobby Johnson, who made head coaching stops at Furman and Vanderbilt, and Cal McCombs, a former leader of the VMI program. He will also be reunited with Fisher DeBerry, who spent 23 years leading the Air Force program and hired Hamilton to two separate assistant coaching stints spanning eight seasons.

Brevard’s prolific rushing offense undoubtedly influenced Jeffries’ inclusion of Hamilton on his coaching staff. The Tornados averaged 321.6 rushing yards per contest, good for sixth nationally among Division II teams, and saw fullback Jordan Ollis break Brevard’s all-time single-season rushing record with 1,224 yards. Brevard had five players average at least 4.6 yards per carry while Ollis, running back Kelvin Jeter, and offensive lineman Josh Turner earn all-conference accolades.

Hamilton will help to bring national exposure to the Brevard program with the game slated to be televised nationally by NBC Sports Network. “We’ll have multiple NFL scouts, general managers, and media attending practices and the game. I’m very honored and appreciative to represent Brevard College with this opportunity,” said Hamilton.

The 2015 Medal of Honor Bowl will kick off from Johnson Hagood Stadium at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 10.

Featured image courtesy of Jane Ollis.

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