Jeff Hamilton enters his 12th season as the head men's basketball coach and fifth as the Athletic Director at Shawnee State University during the 2013-14 season. The Bears are coming off of their most successful campaign since the 2006-07 season when they also won 16 games. Their 11 conference wins this past season tied for the most since the 2003-04 season under Hamilton.
As the Athletic Director, the Bears have sent seven of their 13 varsity programs to compete at the NAIA Championships under Hamilton’s tenure. As a member of the NAIA’s Champions of Character Initiative, 11 different individuals have been named the Mid-South Conference Champions of Character recipients in their respective sports. For Hamilton’s squad, the men’s basketball team has had an individual win this honor in each of the first three seasons that the Bears have been a member of the Mid-South Conference.
As an athletic department, Shawnee State is recognized as a Five-Star Institution for Champions of Character. During the 2011-12 year, the Bears Champions of Character score was the highest amongst all Mid-South schools and the sixth-highest amongst all schools in the NAIA.
Throughout his coaching career, Hamilton has consistently scheduled a tough non-conference slate to prepare his team for the conference schedule. During his tenure, the Bears have played the likes of Boston College, Florida State University, Texas Christian University, University of Detroit-Mercy and many other Division I opponents. Through the years, his teams have continually risen to the challenge of playing top competition throughout the country. This past season, the Bears won three games against teams that were ranked in the top-25 at the time. Additionally, the Bears notched an overtime win over Georgetown College, who was receiving votes at the time before going on to win the NAIA National Championship later that season.
These victories last season just continued Shawnee State’s history of playing its best on the biggest stages as the Bears also beat then-No. 1 Pikeville during the 2011-12 season when Pikeville was the reigning NAIA Champion coming into that season. The upset win over Pikeville was just one instance of Hamilton's team playing its best in big games. In 2004-05, the Bears knocked off eventual National Champion Walsh twice during the regular season. In the 2008-09 season, Hamilton and the Bears went into then-No. 1 ranked Cedarville and took down the Yellow Jackets on their home floor. With a young squad during the 2010-11 season, his team made national headlines as it knocked off second-ranked Georgetown College, with then-sophomore Tyler Morgan garnering National Player of the Week honors.
Hamilton joined the SSU staff in the summer of 2001 as an assistant coach under Geno Ford. He took over the program the following year and guided the Bears to a 22-10 record and to the AMC Championship Game. Hamilton has been coaching basketball since his graduation in 1996 from the College of Wooster. He has made coaching stops at Illinois College and Ohio University where he was on Larry Hunter's staff for two seasons.
He has been instrumental in transitioning Shawnee State into the Mid-South Conference and into the Division I ranks at the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year. The upcoming season will be the Bears’ fourth season as a member of the Mid-South Conference competing at the NAIA Division I level. At various times along the way, he has also coached golf, soccer, tennis and served as director of intramurals.
The Worthington, Ohio native holds a bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster and a master's degree from Ohio University. As a point guard at Wooster, Hamilton helped guide the Scots to three national tournament appearances and a 91-21 record. He currently resides in Portsmouth with his wife, Rhonda. They have two children, Luke and Margaret.
A distinguished member of the coaching profession, Mark Villinger has been coaching basketball for the past 30 years. Twenty four of those years came as a high school coach. He spent 11 years at Central Arkansas Christian School in Little Rock, Ark., nine years at Jackson Christian School in Jackson, Tenn. and four years at Valley High School in Lucasville, Ohio. He is currently in his third season as an assistant coach at Shawnee State University.
Villinger resides in Wheelersburg, Ohio with his wife, Cheryl.
A 2013 NAIA honorable mention All-American, Tyler Morgan enters his first season as an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team in the 2013-14 season. He was the first player in program history to earn All-America recognition since Shawnee State joined the NAIA Division I level.
During his four-year career at Shawnee State, Morgan amassed more points (1,779) and rebounds (1,072) than any other Bears player that has come before him. He also set the program bench mark for field goals made (638), free throws made (445) and free throws attempted (708).
Morgan was a first-team All-MSC selection during the 2012-13 season and earned second-team All-MSC honors as junior. He was also named the AMC Freshman of the Year and second-team All-AMC in his first season with the Bears. In the classroom, Morgan was also a two-time Academic All-MSC selection.
Perhaps no superlatives can sum up Morgan's rebounding presence more than simply laying out the stats. Nobody in NAIA Division I basketball averaged more defensive rebounds per game during the 2012-13 season than Morgan who finished with 6.7 defensive rebounds per game. He was second in the nation in total rebounds per game (10.1) and seventh in total rebounds (302). He also ranked 11th in the NAIA in offensive rebounds per game (3.4).
During his All-American campaign, Morgan led the Mid-South Conference in rebounds per game and double-doubles (15) during the regular season. With his aforementioned rebounding prowess, Morgan averaged a double-double as a senior as he posted a career-best 16.0 points per game. He led the Bears in scoring during three of the four seasons he played at Shawnee State. For his career, Morgan played in 119 games. He started 118 of those contests which is also a program record.