(Lead Photo: OCS Coach Returns To The Game, photos by Mike Curley)
BOBBY ARDOIN Editor/Consulting Writer
Sitting in his recliner watching basketball during over three years of retirement became almost too much for Berwick Hamilton to endure.
So instead of suffering any longer from harcourt withdrawal, Hamilton became proactive and willfully submitted to what has always been an inevitable impulse.
“I’m doing now what I’ve liked to do. You know, coaching basketball is something that is always in my blood, so I’m back in,” Hamitlon said shortly after his team concluded his Opelousas Catholic team’s Tuesday night boys’ basketball game against Class 5A Central-Baton Rouge.
It’s been 45 years since his first high school coaching job in Morgan City, when Hamilton first joined the staff of legendary St, Mary Parish football coach Al Tregle.
Since then the high school basketball resume for Hamilton has included more than a paucity of stops.
Hamilton coached most recently at Abbeville High and before that there were stops at Northside-Lafayette, Jeanerette, Patterson and Carencro.
His reintroduction into coaching has for him been unique as well as somewhat intriguing, Hamilton noted after the 70-55 loss, the 13th for the Vikings this season,
“We’ve been up and down, playing a lot of tough teams. What you saw (Tuesday night) was actually our best effort this year. We have three seniors, we played in the Sunkist (tournament) and I’m always reminded that the game is changing. I’ve had to change along with it,” Hamilton added.
When Hamilton mentions those changes, Hamilton says he is somewhat relaxing the leash and reins and letting his players experience more freedom in their choice of shots.
“The game has changed and the kids have also changed since I first started coaching. My philosophy is still the same, but you have to allow now for a lot more free-wheeling to take place. For instance I am not asking my players to make as many cuts before we set up to take a shot,” Hamilton said.
His current coaching destination, Hamilton pointed out, includes a quite different environment.
Previously the players came from public high schools, but Hamilton added he was eager to see if he would be comfortable coaching in a parochial setting.
“To be honest, I’ve always wanted to coach in this type of situation and see what it would be like. In some ways coming here was a challenge for me. The kids I have coached before were from such different backgrounds. You could describe some of them as aggressive and tough kids,” Hamilton pointed out.
Hamilton said he discussed his return to coaching and the OCS thoroughly with newly-appointed school principal Matt Citron before accepting the job.
“I was watching too much basketball, so I talked with (Citron) and I enjoyed our conversation. What I really missed (in retirement) was all the interaction with kids. There are so many of them right now who need guidance and have someone that is going to be in their corner,” Hamilton said.
So far Hamilton has found the OCS position invigorating personally.
“You know it’s a bit refreshing to coach players who want God in their lives. We also have some good players here who like the game. I have really enjoyed this type of setting,” Hamilton said.
The Vikings experienced only one early single-point lead against Central and spent most of the game battling to regain an advantage and the momentum.
OCS pulled within five points (48-43) with six minutes 42 seconds left, but Central kicked the scoring into a higher level after that, outscoring the Vikings 22-12 afterward in order to seal the victory.