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NYIT names Kevin Hamilton new men’s basketball coach

Even as his business career was progressing, Kevin Hamilton could never purge his life of the game he has always loved.

Not that he wanted to.

“I love basketball,” said Hamilton, an Iona College Hall of Famer and a 1980 NBA draft pick of the Boston Celtics. “All those summers on the summer circuit coaching AAU, you never get it out of your blood.”

Yes, while Hamilton, 58, was working for Xerox Corporation as a Vice President of Sales, he also was coaching the NYC Jaguars AAU program. Since he retired from Xerox in 2012, he has remained close to basketball, paving the way for his latest venture.

NYIT announced Hamilton as the new head coach of its men’s basketball program on Monday. Hamilton faces the challenge of turning around a program that went 3-24 under interim head coach Rob Isme in 2015-16.

“It was the right move at this time because I really love basketball, and NYIT is a very fine institution with a very good track record of good basketball,” said Hamilton, who has also worked as an analyst for Iona’s television and radio broadcasts and as an international scout. “I feel like I could help revitalize their program. The timing was perfect for me.”

The 1976 graduate of North Babylon High School thinks his AAU ties could expedite the process. Throughout his years as an AAU coach and program director, Hamilton forged relationships that could benefit NYIT’s recruiting efforts.

“I’ve already received a lot of phone calls from my counterparts, friends and foes, on the AAU circuit wishing me well,” Hamilton said. “When they respect you as a coach and former player, they want to send their players to you. I think we’ll do well.”

Hamilton, who said he coached Joakim Noah in AAU, scored 1,412 points for Iona from 1976-80. With head coach Jim Valvano and star center Jeff Ruland, he helped lead the program to its first two NCAA tournament berths in 1979 and 1980.

The Boston Celtics drafted Hamilton in the fourth round of the 1980 draft, but he never played an NBA game because of injuries.

“As we worked through the search process and spoke with a distinguished pool of coaches, it became apparent that Kevin best embodied all the characteristics we were looking for, and was ideally suited to take on the challenge of moving NYIT basketball to higher levels of success,” NYIT Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Duane Bailey said in a news release. “He has a unique, interesting and long background in the game of basketball. He’s a driven and intense competitor that cares deeply about his players and he’s a visible and involved member of the community.”

New York Sports