Floyd "Scotty" Hamilton
Written by Greg Walker
The late Floyd "Scotty" Hamilton was the roly-poly playmaker of West Virginia's 1942 NIT national championship team. In the tournament, Hamilton led the last-seeded Mountaineers to a monumental 58-49 overtime win against Coach Clair Bee's Long Island squad, which came into the game with a 42-game winning streak. After topping Toledo 51-39 in the semifinals, Hamilton helped WVU upend Western Kentucky 47-45 in the championship game.
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The Mountaineers finished 19-4 that season as the 5-11 Hamilton averaged 8.7 points per game to become West Virginia's first-ever basketball All-America selection (Helms Foundation). A parade down High Street in Morgantown was held for Hamilton and his championship teammates Rudy Baric, Roger "Shorty" Hicks, Lou Kalmar, Dick Kesling, Donald Raese, George Rickey and Walter Rollins and their head coach Dyke Raese.
One of the more legendary stories about Hamilton surrounds a certain game at Pitt in which the Panther center kept tugging on Hamilton's shorts throughout the game. Hamilton explained his plight to the officials, but to no avail. So on one particular play in the second half, the Pitt center found himself, according to legend, planted about a dozen rows up into the Pitt Pavilion bleachers.
For his career, Hamilton averaged 9.1 points per game and captained the 1943 squad. West Virginia teams produced records of 13-10, 19-4 and 14-7 (46-21 overall) during his tenure. Hamilton also lettered once in football, playing for Ira Errett Rodgers' 1943 squad that posted a 4-3 record.
Born November 21, 1921, in Grafton, W.Va., Hamilton was an all-state player for Grafton High. Coach Raese called Hamilton "the only player I ever recruited, or ever wanted to." It was actually Hamilton's great-grandmother, Lulu Hamilton Perrine, who decided that he would attend WVU after Raese, clean-shaven, hair combed and wearing a freshly pressed suit, impressed Perrine with his manners and pleasant demeanor on a recruiting trip.
After college, Hamilton joined the Navy and served in World War II. He later became basketball coach at Washington & Lee, before moving on to become athletic director at Marietta (Ohio) High School. He is a member of the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and was selected for the WVU basketball all-time team (pre-WWII).
Hamilton and his wife, the late Barbara Jean Hamilton, met in the fourth grade at Grafton Elementary School. They were married December 31, 1940, and had three children. Hamilton died April 11, 1976. He is survived by his son Scotty Hamilton of Duluth, Ga., and daughters Sherry Watts of Williamstown, W.Va., and Pam Thorne of Denver, and six grandchildren.