By Brad Morris
Tom Hamman spent 19 seasons walking the hardwood sidelines inside the historic Mill Street Gymnasium and the old Circleville High School, coaching the Tigers to victory and helping mold his players into young men ready to succeed in life.
The Hamman family was honored on Friday night for their many contributions to Circleville City Schools and its basketball program, including helping refinish the Horizon Gymnasium floor last summer and expanding it to a full 94-foot floor, by naming the parquet hardwood the Hamman Family Court.
“What stands out to me about my time coaching here at Circleville was how hard our students worked, competed and I tried to do my best for them as a coach, working to put our team in position to succeed,” Hamman said. “It’s nice to see some of my former players, share stories about the good old days and have some laughs along the way.”
Hamman led the boys basketball program from 1981-2000 and posted a record of 274-204. He was named Central District Coach of the Year twice and led the Tigers to a pair of South Central Ohio League championships, two district runner-up finishes and a district championship.
“I have some great memories from those days. Coaching in the old South Central Ohio League where we had some battles and then coming to the Mid-State League and forming rivalries with those schools,” Hamman said. “I think back to the 1997 season when we had a good team that got hot at the right time and made a run to the Sweet 16, and those players getting the experience of playing in the Convo, which is a special place, experience and reward for kids to earn.”
Hamman also served as athletic director at Circleville from 1993-2005 and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2012.
It was fitting for the Hamman family and the long-time coach of the Tigers to be honored before the Tigers took on the Westfall Mustangs. Hamman is a 1966 graduate of Westfall.
“I have the privilege to be part of two good communities and I was well-supported at both Westfall and Circleville,” Hamman said. “I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime at Westfall and then I came to Circleville for most of my adult life and made tremendous friendships here, as well.”
One of the highlights of Hamman’s coaching career was to coach his sons Mark, Nate and Seth, and two nephews, Will and John.
“That was special,” Hamman said. “I was fortunate to be able to coach my sons along with two nephews and have family come through our program.”
Hamman discussed how talent can vary between one team to the next and trying to maintain a consistent level of competitiveness.
“When I started here at Circleville, we had some pretty talented players and that made my job easier,” he said. “We always had good, hard-working students in our program, but some groups are more talented than others. When you have the groups who may not be quite as talented, that’s when I learned you have to work even harder as a coach to try and maximize what you have and try to give your kids the best chance to be successful.”
While Hamman remembers the wins, cutting down nets and the time spent in practice with his players, the greatest reward for the long-time coach comes after graduation.
“When you coach, you want to win as many games as you can, but what stands the test of time are the life lessons that you instill in your players, having relationships that last past their playing days and seeing them go on and be successful in life. That’s the greatest reward of all,” he said.
A plaque will greet visitors to the Horizon Gymnasium with the following inscription:
As the Varsity Basketball Coach, I spent countless hours for many years in the
gym. I am proud of the games we won and the improvement the players made
each season. Every team, the players, and the incredible coaching staff, became
an extension of my family. The life lessons that were learned and relationships
that were formed through basketball is what I cherish most. I was blessed to have
a supportive wife, Genny, and to have been able to coach my sons, Mark, Nate
and Seth, and two nephews, Will and John. My family and I are honored to have
been part of the Circleville Basketball Program for many years and proud to
support its continued success.