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Back in the Game

July 29, 2011

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

– It’s that time of year again, when the blood in Joe Hamilton’s veins runs more electric, when he tingles with excitement in thinking about the possibilities ahead and the addictive chase of success on a football field.

The legendary Georgia Tech quarterback is back in the game, not as a player but as a coach. He’s a full-timer, too, elevated last month from graduate assistant to running backs coach at Georgia State.

To hear him talk and see him beam as he stopped to chat recently while passing through Tech’s Edge Center was to witness the glow of a re-born man, a football man who couldn’t be happier perhaps even if he was about to gear up again.

“It’s been a blessing, an extreme blessing, to be in a position to coach and live out my dream. I’m still in the state of Georgia, under a Georgia Tech guy, a former Georgia Tech head coach in Bill Curry,” he said. “I could not exhaust a list of superlatives talking about him, what kind of man he is, and what kind of leader.”

Hamilton was hired to be a player personnel assistant at Tech in 2008, but resigned shortly thereafter in the wake of publicly embarrassing charges.

Through mutual acquaintances, including former Tech quarterback John Dewberry, he and Curry reinforced an existing relationship while Hamilton was on a personal road to re-design and redemption.

“We had met before in a few awards banquets and the ACC 50th anniversary team. We talked briefly, and . . . we’re Georgia Tech guys,” he said. “[Curry] gave me an opportunity as a G.A. to be able to crawl, and climb. All I wanted was an opportunity. I spent a year doing that, working, working, working hard.”

When GSU assistant Todd Perry left the program to coach high school football, another door opened. Curry invited Hamilton to walk through, and it took no time at all for the first-time coach to make his decision.

“Oh no. No, no,” Joe said. “Before he got it out of his mouth, I started glowing and smiling. Before he really asked what did I think about it . . . the answer was, `Yes, no doubt about it.’

“To start my career under someone like him, I’m very grateful and happy. It’s fabulous, unbelievable. I really can’t wait to get started, get out on the field coaching. I’m just excited.”

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