Prescott alumnus Owen Hamilton hired as next girls’ basketball head coach

Posted 6/28/22

Hamilton has served as an assistant for the program for the past two seasons By Reagan Hoverman The Prescott School District recently announced that Owen Hamilton, a Prescott alumnus who played …

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Prescott alumnus Owen Hamilton hired as next girls’ basketball head coach

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Hamilton has served as an assistant for the program for the past two seasons

By Reagan Hoverman

The Prescott School District recently announced that Owen Hamilton, a Prescott alumnus who played boys’ basketball for the program and has served as an assistant coach for the last two years, has been hired as the next head coach of the girls’ basketball team.

The announcement was made official on Thursday, June 16, that Hamilton would be given the reins of the program. Hamilton played basketball at Prescott from 2014-2017 and was a member of some of the best teams in school history.

During his senior season, he averaged 25 points per game and 12 rebounds per game and was as dominant of an interior force as the Cardinals have ever had. Because of his success and his height, 7’1”, he was recruited to play college basketball.

After graduation, he went to play college basketball at Northern Illinois University, a Division 1 program located in DeKalb, Ill. After his freshman season, he decided that it wasn’t the school for him and transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and became a Badger.

“I got to spend three really good years in Madison,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately, I hurt my back, had two surgeries, and had to hang it up. I spent time there and didn’t get to play, but that’s ultimately what pushed me into coaching. I had to hang it up but I couldn’t get away from basketball.”

During Hamilton’s last semester in Madison, he was preparing for graduation and one day stumbled upon the coaching advertisement for the Prescott girls’ C-team basketball position. Initially, he didn’t think he would be a great coach but wanted to at least give it a shot.

“I didn’t think I would be very good, but I should give it a try,” Hamilton said. “Now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

After moving back to Prescott in 2020, he began his role as the C-team coach for the Cardinals. Hamilton recalled what that first season was like and how he has grown as a coach in the two years since then.

“I was really quiet (that first year), which is weird considering how I am now,” Hamilton said. “I was nervous, I didn’t know the girls very well and I think all of the girls will tell you that I was really quiet. It was good for me to get my feet wet.”

In that first season, there weren’t a lot of C-team games as the program – and the sports world – navigated through the first year of life amid COVID-19. Because of that, Hamilton got a chance to serve as a JV assistant and watch and listen to a coach work up close, which served as a valuable learning experience.

“There weren’t many games, so I was more of a JV assistant,” Hamilton said. “It was a learning experience for me. This past season, I was more vocal, I was more established, knew the girls better and got more confident and comfortable. That first year was a big growth year.”

Last season, his second year with the program, Hamilton served as the JV head coach and as an assistant on the varsity bench with then-head coach Joan Korfhage. When Hamilton served as an assistant for Korfhage, he began feeling like he was a player again.

Hamilton stated that he could sit on the bench, see the game from the floor and call things out that he saw happening and make adjustments when they did. He said that he did the same thing as a player and that in a way, he had been doing aspects of the coach- ing job for years.

“It kind of reminded me of when I was a player,” Hamilton said. “I was always pointing things out whether it was AAU, college, or high school. For me, it was kind of being that player’s coach. Now I’m on the coach’s side instead of the player’s side.”

Hamilton continued to gain knowledge and coaching experience throughout the 2021-22 season as Korfhage’s assistant. When the position opened up earlier this spring, Hamilton quickly applied for the position and began going through interviews.

He interviewed with Prescott Athletic Director Andrew Caudill, the senior girls’ basketball players (class of 2023), and spent some time answering questions. He stated that it was a straightforward process and he had a chance to talk about technical basketball. Hamilton spoke about how excited he is to be the next head coach.

“I can’t wait and I was really excited to get the news,” Hamilton said. “I wish the season could start tomorrow. I’m ready to get after it, but we still have some time to wait and prepare. I can’t wait and I’m very excited. The group we have coming in makes it a lot more fun too.”

After the interviews, Caudill stated that Hamilton was the standout candidate among the 17 that applied for the position. Accord- ing to Caudill, all of the finalists had strong basketball resumes including coaching experience and time as a player. However, there was something that separated Hamilton from the rest.

“Hamilton separated himself with his intangibles,” Caudill said. “His playing experience and relatability to the student-athletes were evident. He fits what we are looking for in our head coaches. He will model the right way of doing things to our students, he will inspire them to work hard and give their best each day, he will challenge them to reach new heights, and he will encourage them along the way.”

Hamilton has the full support and confidence of both Caudill and the rest of the Prescott School District and all involved parties are eager to get the season started. Hamilton is in a rare situation as a first-year head coach.

Typically, when a head coaching position becomes available, the team hasn’t had much success and is looking to take the program in a different direction. However, last season’s Cardinals girls basketball team was excellent and won a Middle Border Conference Championship and made it to a sectional semifinal game.

Now, Hamilton is tasked with taking a roster that is already built to win to the next level. He spoke about this group and the rare situation.

“It’s not very often you get to get your first year with a group that has had some success,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got Lila (Posthuma) who is unbelievable, you’ve got a player of the year (Katrina Budworth), a girl who got to shoot in the three-point contest (Izzy Matzek) and there are players that people in the conference don’t know about, but they will find out about.” Last season, the Cardinals finished with a 19-8 record overall and a 12-2 record in the Middle Border, which secured them the conference crown. Hamilton spoke about pressure, expectations and taking the program to the next level.

“We made it pretty far last year and the goal is to make it further this year,” Hamilton said. “I know there are expectations put on me and the team, but I think it’s a group that’s ready to tackle it and get after it. They know what they have an opportunity to accomplish. Now we just need to get them in the gym and get ready to get after it.”

Hamilton noted some of the major players on the team in Budworth and Matzek. Both of them put up strong numbers last year and likely will again next season. However, Hamilton spoke about Posthuma and the type of jump that she could make going into her junior season. As a sophomore, she averaged 11 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game.

“I’ve seen her from her freshman year and seeing her grow from her freshman year to her sophomore year,” Hamilton said. “The jump that she could make going into this year is a scary thought for the rest of the state. She is probably going to break every rebounding record we have – guys or girls. She is coming for my records and I already told her I can’t wait for her to break them. She has such great instincts and is going to be really, really good.”

Hamilton closed his comments by stating that the fans in the stands and the rest of the Middle Border are going to get to see a pretty fun show when his girls take the court this fall.