Claudette Hamilton, Leonard Hamilton’s Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty Head coach Leonard Hamilton of the Florida State Seminoles holds the championship trophy after winning the final game of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic 73-66 over the Saint Joseph's Hawks.

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton is one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball. Over stops at Oklahoma State, Miami and Florida State, the 70-year old has compiled quite a resume, including 540 wins, 2 Sweet 16’s, an Elite 8 last year and ACC Coach of the Year honors twice.

After taking the Seminoles to the brink of the Final Four as a No. 9 seed last season, he also earned the Clarence “Big House” Gaines National Coach of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. While he never gets mentioned in the same breath as the Coach K’s or the Roy Williams’ of the world, he’s proven his acumen over a nearly 40-year career.

One rock that’s helped him along the way: his wife Claudette Hamilton. Here’s what you need to know about the women behind the successful coach.

1. Claudette Hale Met Leonard Hamilton at the University of Tennessee-Martin


NoleInsider.com Leonard Hamilton Press Conference after 95-68 win over UT-Martin.wmv2009-12-23T08:05:39.000Z

According to Fabwags, Leonard and Claudette met while both attended Tennessee-Martin in the late 1960s. Leonard was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and Army ROTC, while Claudette was then known as Claudette Hale.

They married soon after as Leonard started his coaching career. She needed to adjust to the life of a coach’s wife.

“You can always tell where the basketball coach lives,” Claudette Hamilton said. “In the wintertime, the snow is never shoveled in the driveway and in the summer, the grass is the tallest in the neighborhood.”

“I couldn’t say it wasn’t a bit of a sacrifice. The negativity people write or say about him bothers me. If they knew Leonard, they would understand better.”

2. She’s Been His Emotional Support as He Broke Barriers as a Black Coach

According to a profile by The Undefeated last April, Hamilton described his tough time adjusting to the racial prejudice pointed towards black coaches.

“It has been extremely confusing at times, discouraging at times, to come up with the right answer,” Hamilton told me this week. ”It’s a mystery to me why progress has been so slow. It’s a mystery why the doors have not been opened wider.”

As this article by Jacksonville.com states, Hamilton is calmed by two things: Claudette and gospel music.

Other than his 49-year marriage to wife Claudette, the love connection with his two adult children, and a 24/7 commitment to Florida State’s hoops program for the past 17 seasons, Leonard Hamilton has just one passion: gospel music.

Growing up in Gastonia, N.C., his house was an easy wedge from Mount Zion Baptist Church. Deep inside the 70-year-old Hamilton, he still feeds the impact from the sounds inside that church to this day.

“I grew up in the church. When the organist played or a soloist performed, I could hear it from my bedroom,” Hamilton said. ”[Gospel music] is part of who I am.”

3. Hamilton Once Joked That His Wife Found Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright “Handsome”

Earlier this November, Florida State faced defending national champion Villanova in the Orlando AdvoCare Invitational. In the prep for the matchup, Leonard revealed that his wife found Wildcat head coach Jay Wright “handsome.”

“The only thing I don’t like about coach Wright… my wife keeps telling me how handsome he is,” Hamilton said with a smile to Jordan Culver of the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s a problem. I’m going to have to tell him about that. Maybe I need to get a little revenge from that standpoint.”

The Seminoles lost 66-60 to Wright and company, who made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed.

Speaking seriously about Wright, Hamilton said, “He’s such a nice gentleman. He’s a class act. He does a tremendous job coaching his team. I’m excited about having an opportunity to play against a well-coached team like that because it gives us a chance to play against one of the best in the country.”

4. Claudette and Leonard Once Slept in Their Office Together After Hurricane Irma

During Hurricane Irma last October, the Hamilton offered his practice facility, the Donald Tucker Center, for students to use as shelter.

He said in a statement at the time:

“We want to ensure the availability of the Tucker Center for any university or community needs associated with the storm. Given the current uncertainty, this decision seems to be the best for all.”

According to Jon Rothstein, his wife and he slept in his office until the coast was clear.

5. They Have Two Children Together

Claudette is a former volunteer tutor turned homemaker. She and Leonard have two together. Lenny is a musician born in 1970; and daughter Allison Janae an artist born in 1984.


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