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Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame: Patrick Hamilton fueled state championships for Red Elephants basketball in 1983 and 1984
Patrick Hamilton
Patrick Hamilton, a Gainesville High graduate, plays in a game for the University of Georgia at The Omni in Atlanta. Photo courtesy Patrick Hamilton

Patrick Hamilton had a simple dream to be successful in life.

He did not care how success was achieved, his desire was to accomplish something.

It’s fair to say he’s made that happen — athletically and professionally.

Those early dreams led to many successful basketball memories where he starred at Gainesville High in the early 1980s.

Hamilton, who went on to star at the University of Georgia, would steer the Red Elephants during their most successful run in school history, winning state championships in 1983 and 1984. During that time, Gainesville’s boys basketball program would post a staggering 59-1 record during that two-year run. 

“I feel great about it,” Hamilton said. “I am just not one of those people who worried about being mentioned in single accolades. I was an intricate part of many to make a great run.”

On Tuesday, Hamilton, now 56, will be part of the latest class of inductees to the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame with a banquet at The Chair Factory in Gainesville. 

Also included will be Dr. Tim Fulenwider, Billy Lothridge, Tommy Valentine and Stephanie (Yarem) Ransom. The three-peat state championship baseball programs from Gainesville (1996-1998) will also be inducted. 

This is the class slated for induction in 2020, but was postponed last year, due to the coronavirus. 

A career educator, Hamilton now works in high school administration in Florida. 

He still looks back fondly on those state championship squads at Gainesville High. 

Hamilton still remembers losing in the state championship game to Decatur his sophomore season, which was the catalyst to winning state the next two seasons. 

“We talk about that all the time,” said Hamilton, who was an assistant boys coach at Wheeler High when in won the 2016 state championship. “It (the loss) made such a difference to the guys coming back. We wanted to play them again. We took that very personal.”

These days, Hamilton has traded in his athletic apparel for suits and ties. 

However, Gainesville still remains close to his heart.

The memories playing with his Newtown community friends and dealing with adversity continue to drive Hamilton’s pride in being from Northeast Georgia and Gainesville High.

“I know we built something special and built the foundation because of the way we did it,” Hamilton said. “We did it with the same guys from the same community, from almost the same street. That’s what makes it mean so much to me.”

Hamilton would go on to have a prolific career at the University of Georgia. 

For the Bulldogs, the Gainesville High graduate still holds records for steals in a single season (89) and career (219).

Today, his message to the Gainesville community is similar to the motto he follows.

“Just try to be true (to you) and try to achieve what your mind is set to do,” Hamilton said.

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