FINAL BUZZER: Hamilton says farewell to coaching basketball


Ashley Grant

Former girls’ basketball Coach Derrick Hamilton will coach bowling this fall.

Ashley Grant, Staff Writer

Coach Derrick Hamilton dressed in his best suit as a tear fell down his face while watching his last group of seniors walk down the court.

“It’s time,” Hamilton said. “One of my players is [senior] Ana Gent, and when I went and recruited her six years ago, I told her, ‘You might be the last player that I recruit, and I might retire when you graduate.’”

Coach Derrick coached basketball for more than 30 years. Ten of those years were spent coaching at West Shore.

“The last couple graduating classes have been classes I’ve been close with; getting to see them come here as seventh-graders and watching them grow into the players I know them to be today is my favorite part of coaching,” Hamilton said.

For the last two years, Hamilton guided the girls varsity team to regionals.

“Going to regionals has probably been the most exciting and memorable moment of my coaching career,” Hamilton said. “It’s an amazing moment to see all the girls’ hard work lead them to success.”

According to junior Jaylynn Jetter, making it to Regionals was a big moment for both Hamilton and the girls.

“Seeing [Derrick] overjoyed when going to Regionals with the 2020-2021 girls varsity team [was huge],” Jetter said. “He was very proud of everyone and their hard work, even though they lost their season.”

Recent graduate Tiara Quach, involved in girls basketball for five years, said that when coach Hamilton heard the news about regionals he was very excited.

“When we made it to regionals, you could see the joy in his eyes,” Quach said. “Everyone was basically happy to ride the bus and miss the last period of school. For me that was a bonus.”

Jeter said she reflects on the lessons coach Hamilton taught the team.

“Coach Derrick has taught me to push myself and be confident in all of my actions, whether taking a shot or passing the ball,” Jeter said. “Coach has also taught me to be a team player and listen to others’ concerns or advice.”

Quach said her best memory of Hamilton was watching him coach the middle school games.

“His reactions and expressions during the game when he was on the sidelines were hilarious,” Quach said.

According to Jeter, next year will look different without Hamilton in the program.

“He has had a huge impact on many of us players,” Jeter said. “Although many of us didn’t agree with some of his tactics, he was an amazing coach who taught us to succeed,”

To the girls on the team, Hamilton was more than just a basketball coach.

“I think the biggest thing he brought to the team was support and care,” Quach said. “He was always there for us, motivated us to take care of ourselves and let us choose what we wanted to do.”

The new assistant coach, Coach Hugh Bain, already has taken over the program.

“He has been with us for a while now, being an essential part of our team,” Hamilton said. “He has always wanted to coach, and I have always wanted him to coach. I did not want to leave the program unless I trusted the next person to take it over.”

Jeter has confidence in Bain to carry on the efforts made by Hamilton.

“With Coach Hugh becoming head coach, I think next year will be more focused,” Jeter said. “I also think with Coach Hugh becoming head coach, there will be more time on drills to improve our skills. “Due to COVID for the past two years, everyone didn’t take basketball as seriously as they should have. Although it is a fun sport, it’s best to stay focused.”

Hamilton has decided to switch to bowling, a less time-consuming sport.

“I love bowling,” Hamilton said.  “Bowling was one of my first loves before basketball, so it was a natural move over to bowling.”

From the beginning of the season, the team knew that Hamilton would be retiring.

“I was honestly a little surprised when he switched to bowling,” Quach said. “I never knew he had experience with bowling in the past and had never told me that he was [going to] be the bowling coach [until] the end of the season. I thought he was going to retire after the basketball season ended for good.”