After 16 years at Austin, Bruce Hamilton is leaving to be the girls basketball coach at Centennial High in Franklin, Tennessee.
“Austin has been a great place for me and my family,” Hamilton said. “I’ve really enjoyed it here. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’m excited about the new challenge.”
Hamilton is not leaving Austin just for a new challenge. The move is family related. He and his wife Allyson have one child, daughter Laken, who got married last year, moved from Dallas to Nashville and is now expecting their first grandchild.
“When she was living in Dallas, moving out there was nothing we ever considered,” Hamilton said. “When she moved closer to home and now that a grandchild is on the way, we started thinking about it.”
Hamilton, who turns 52 in September, will be able to draw his Alabama state retirement.
Centennial is a school with around 1,800 students in an area with a rich tradition of highly successful girls basketball programs.
“I had a good meeting with the girls at Centennial,” Hamilton said. “We plan to have some workouts near the end of May and then some competition in June.”
Hamilton is a native of Florence. He was an assistant coach at Decatur and then head boys basketball coach at Bradshaw before coming to Austin in 2004. While at Austin, he’s also coached softball and helped with the football program. Under his direction, the Austin girls program turned into one of the best in north Alabama.
The Black Bears went 340-156 with 11 seasons of 20 or more wins. There were seven area championships, eight regional appearances and a trip to the Class 6A final four in 2015. Hamilton has sent 29 players to the college ranks.
“The most important thing at Austin has been the relationships I’ve built over the years,” Hamilton said. “There have been a lot of great people that I will miss.
“Austin is a special place. I am not a person who likes to hop from job to job. Austin has given me stability for 16 years. That means a lot.”
Hamilton’s departure continues a trend with varsity basketball head coaches at Decatur City Schools. In the past the positions at Decatur and Austin for both boys and girls rarely changed.
Now Austin is searching for a new girls coach. Decatur boys coach Kori Walker and Decatur girls coach Justin Moore both just finished their first seasons.
Austin boys coach Major Deacon has the longest tenure and he just completed his second season leading the Black Bears.