Jeff Hamilton enters his 11th season as the head men's basketball coach and fourth as the Athletic Director at Shawnee State University in the 2012-13 season. This season, Hamilton will lead the Bears into their third season as a member of the Mid-South Conference as Shawnee State competes at the NAIA Division I level.
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. No game served as a better example of this during the 2011-12 season than Shawnee State's victory over defending national champion and then-No. 1 Pikeville.
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 young squad 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. As Athletic Director, he has been instrumental in transitioning Shawnee State into the Mid-South Conference and into the Division I ranks. 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.
Jay Eason is entering into his third season as the assistant men's basketball coach at Shawnee State. Along with his coaching duties, Eason coordinates recruiting as well plays a significant role in scouting, academic monitoring and all the day-to-day activities of the program. He was previously the assistant varsity and head JV coach at Lindsey Wilson College for the 2009-2010 season. With the JV program, Eason compiled a 13-5 record, winning six straight home games at one point.
As a player, Eason was a walk-on for Barton College (N.C.) from 2006-2008. In 2007, the Bulldogs won the NCAA Division II National Championship, beating out Winona State University.
Eason, a native of Pinetops, North Carolina, graduated from Barton in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Physical Education. He earned his master's in Physical Education at West Virginia University. In addition to his responsibilities with the basketball team, Coach Eason also works as the intramural director as well as being an adjunct instructor in the Sports Studies Department.
He currently resides in South Shore, Kentucky.
A distinguished member of the coaching profession, Mark Villinger has been coaching basketball for the past 29 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 resides in Wheelersburg, Ohio with his wife, Cheryl.