TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State's Leonard Hamilton has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year and senior guard Toney Douglas has been named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. It's the first time Hamilton has been named the ACC Coach of the Year and the first time Douglas has been named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Douglas earned All-ACC First-Team and All-ACC Defensive team honors from the ACSMA on Monday. He finished as the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year honors as North Carolina's Ty Lawson won the award in one of the closest votes in the history of the award. Douglas is the second Florida State player in the last three seasons to finish second in the balloting for conference player of the year honors after All-American Al Thornton finished a the runner-up to Jared Dudley of Boston College in 2007.
Hamilton, who has guided the Seminoles to a 23-8 record and a 10-6 ACC mark, was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. Hamilton guided a team with six first-year players and only three seniors to a fourth place finish in the league standings after the Seminoles were predicted to finish 10th in the league standings at ACC Media Day in October.
Florida State's 23 wins are tied for the third most in school history and are the most since the Seminoles finished with a 25-10 record during the 1992-93 season. The Seminoles' 10 ACC wins ranks as the third highest total in school history and are the most since a 12-win ACC season in 1992-93. The Seminoles have defeated three ranked teams this season and earned a bye in the upcoming ACC Tournament for the first time in school history.
Hamilton, who was named the Big East Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1999 while at the University of Miami, is the first and only coach to earn coach of the year honors in both the ACC and the Big East. He was named the UPI National Coach of the Year in 1995. He has a career-record of 329-303 and is 129-93 in seven seasons at Florida State. The Seminoles are the ACC's fourth winningest program in the last three seasons.
"This honor really goes to our players and my staff," said Hamilton. "Our players have committed to being the most coachable team I have ever worked with and they have done everything we have asked of them. My staff has worked as hard this season to ensure our players as prepared for every game and every practice as any staff I have worked with. It is because of the efforts of the players and our coaches that we have been able to achieve success this season. They have all helped develop the ground work for what we feel is going to be a very bright future for Florida State basketball."
Douglas, who enters the 2009 ACC Tournament as the ACC leader in steals with 60, is considered to be one of the top on-the-ball defenders in all of college basketball. A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and a candidate for national player of the year honors, he has consistently been assigned to guard the opponents' top offensive player.
While earning the deserved honor of being named the top defender in the nation's top conference, Douglas has handled the Seminoles' point guard duties and has been Florida State's undisputed leader both on and off the court. He has been the leader who has guided Florida State's youthful team of six first-year players and only three seniors to a top four finish in the ACC and to the cusp of the Seminoles' first NCAA Tournament bid since 1998.
Douglas has earned 228 career steals in 126 career games (1.81 spg for his entire career) and has 185 steals in 95 games as a Seminole (1.95 spg as a Seminole). His 1.95 steals per game during his Florida State career ranks him 18th in ACC history for steals in a game. Douglas enters the 2009 ACC Tournament ranked third in school history with his 1.95 steals per game average.
Florida State begins play in the 2009 ACC Tournament on Friday against the winner of Thursday's game between No. 5 seeded Clemson and No. 12 seeded Georgia Tech. The Seminoles will meet the winner at that game at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.