Hamilton looks to bring stability back to boys basketball program

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Eric Hamilton

Stability, Eric Hamilton said, is what is missing from the Moffat County High School boys basketball program.

As the MCHS senior boys basketball players enter their final year, they will be playing for Hamilton, their third head coach in as many years.

During their freshmen and sophomore years, Steve Maneotis was in charge. Last season, David Bradshaw was at the helm.

“I want to bring back stability and dependability to the program,” Hamilton said. “When players get into the program, I want them to know where it is going and what the coaches expect out of them. I want to bring a lot of pride back to Moffat County basketball.”

Hamilton, who played under Craig Mortensen from 1984 to 1986 at MCHS, takes over the team after a three-year stint as head coach of the Hayden High School girls varsity basketball team.

With the Tigers, Hamilton led the team to two 2A state playoff appearances and compiled a 56-19 overall record.

Making the move from 2A to 4A will be different, he said, but he feels ready for the challenge.

“Every game in 4A seems to be tough, which means we have to prepare for every game like it is do or die,” he said. “I don’t feel any more pressure than I did the past couple of seasons. There is pressure to improve on last season here, but there isn’t much that changes.”

As for the move from girls to boys, Hamilton said basketball is basketball.

“We did quite a few open gyms, but I feel boys and girls are real similar,” he said. “We still have to coach the same fundamentals and do the same type of drills. I feel the intensity level may be a little different at times, but not a lot different because you are still trying to teach the game of basketball.”

After his playing days were over at MCHS, Hamilton played two years as point guard at Doane College in Crete, Neb.

Basketball, Hamilton said, is more than just a game to him.

“I still have a lot to learn and I learn every day,” he said. “But, I am pretty crazy about basketball and I care a lot about my players and want the best for them.

“My passion for coaching is probably as high as it can be.”

The Bulldogs went 2-20 overall last season and won one Western Slope League game.

The strength of schedule, Hamilton said, is a big difference compared to Hayden.

“It seems like every game is going to be so important and tough,” he said. “At Hayden, we had a lot of games that were complete blowouts. We knew going into every season there would be five or six games we could easily win. Here, anyone can beat anyone, and it will be exciting having a season like that.”

But, just like when he was a player, Hamilton said the biggest games are going to be against Steamboat Springs High School.

“I am totally excited about Steamboat,” he said. “The Moffat County-Steamboat rivalry is one of the things that draws me to Moffat County. I get a chance to relive that old rivalry because I loved it as a player.”

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