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Justin Hamilton settling in as Tech Defensive Coordinator

Former Hokie player has handled plenty of challenges
Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 10:49 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - For 25 years, Bud Foster prowled the Hokies sidelines as Defensive Coordinator, that is until this season, when he passed the baton to 38 year old Justin Hamilton. This season has already been a roller coaster ride for Hamilton in many ways, but he’s embraced the challenge and is enjoying every minute.

Hamilton suited up for the Hokies from 2002 to 2005, playing tailback, receiver and eventually safety. Prior to that, he was a standout at Clintwood High School in coalfields of far southwest Virginia, choosing Tech over the likes of Miami, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee. He’s never forgotten his small town roots, which have served to shape his coaching philosophy.

“In a small town there’s nowhere to hide, good or bad,” says Hamilton. “If you are successful in doing some things, then you have to maintain humility because if you don’t, those communities tend to turn on those types of people. When I experienced some success, I was raised to be humble and I was raised to be grateful for opportunities and for the other people around. Also, if you make mistakes or if you don’t have things go your way, you have to go out and you have to own it. As a player and as a coach, that’s probably been the most valuable part of that for me.”

While the Hokies defense is still a work in progress, Hamilton’s start has been remarkable considering how rocky the road was to start the season. He juggled the birth of a new baby, and then he was forced to miss two games because of COVID, while not knowing what players were available week to week.

“It’s the most challenging experience of my professional life,” he said. “That’s as a player or as a coach. My wife got me a FitBit back for one of my birthdays or anniversary and my sleep score during that time was like 40′s.”

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