History made in ACC tournament

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) -History was made at this year's A-C-C tournament in Atlanta.

Florida State won the tournament for the first time ever.

While the loss may be upsetting to Carolina fans, it is a huge moment for the entire conference.

When Leonard Hamilton cut down the victory nets, he became the first African American basketball coach to ever claim the conference crown.

"It's really been a team effort,"he said." These guys have laid it on the line through ups and downs. "

Pride comes from classmates like Jim Biggers.

He remembers Hamilton on the football team, but basketball was his claim to fame.

They graduated from all black Highland High School in 1966.

Biggers said,"These were the 60's, and of course 66 closed our school. Highland High School. There were hopes because of desegregation."

Former Gaston County School superintendent Edward Sadler admires the coaches' humility. He would graduate from Highland two years before Hamilton.

"Leonard is a very humble gentleman," Sadler said."He's been a hard worker, and a hard worker with a positive attitude and he has been able to instill those things that he believes into his players."

Hamilton said, "We've grown as we have gone through the struggles."

Struggles that have put him on the same list of winning ACC coaches including Carolinas Dean Smith and Roy Williams, along with Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, but those who know Leonard Hamilton are basking in the moment.

"The rewards are there. He's earned every bit of it," Biggers said.

They are the well noted rewards of a hometown coach that's done good on the road to the Final Four.

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