By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky assistant coach Leonard Hamilton has Florida State in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen against Gonzaga tonight.
During his press conference Wednesday, he got one question he admitted he was not expecting. It was not about Gonzaga — or even basketball.
Instead, it was about his passion for gospel music and his record label because of his love for music.
“As a youngster growing up, I’m not really sure I ever lived — in the first 19 years of my life, maybe first 20 years of my life, I never lived more than 50 yards from a church,” Hamilton said. “And every time the church bell rang, I could hear it. Whenever the piano or the organ played, I could really sing with the songs in my bedroom.
“I grew up in the church. That was kind of a way of life for us. Sunday school, BTU, vacation bible school, choir practice, Easter programs, Christmas programs, Easter egg hunts, all those things were part of who we were and what I’ve become as an individual. So the church has always been a very important part of my life. Going to church and worshipping has been a very important part of my life.
“I remember even as a youngster going every Sunday night with my grandmother to a different church in town. So I kind of grew up with that. I enjoy it. It’s part of who I am. I enjoy it.”
What about the record label?
“I do have a record label, but it’s not as much as an income producer for me as to try and provide people with access to opportunity and hopefully help them do what I feel like is important to them — spreading the word, spreading the gospel,” Hamilton said.
“Having an opportunity to express themselves in song has always been a part of my life, and I always try to work hard to encourage other people who want to do that, to do it, and it’s kind of my way of giving back.”