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Curry Raves About Joe Hamilton

I leaned on Bill Curry plenty when I covered the inaugural Georgia State team in 2010, and he was a help again Tuesday as I worked on my story about Joe Hamilton's hire as a recruiting assistant at Georgia Tech. He shared a few insights into Hamilton that didn't make it into the final story that I figured would be worth mentioning here.

Some background: Curry, you likely know, was Georgia State's first coach, and was approached by his former quarterback, John Dewberry, and Tech grad Pete Petit (also a GSU grad) about bringing Hamilton on. Curry was well aware of Hamilton's plight, and grilled him hard about his misdeeds, which he owned up to.

Hamilton served as a recruiting intern in 2010, a job filled with menial tasks that perhaps a lot of football legends would have found beneath them.

"From the day he got there, he had a wonderful attitude," Curry said.

Curry promoted him to running backs coach for 2011 and kept him on last season, Curry's last. Curry said that in 2011, he told Hamilton that his first priority was that the running back be holding onto the ball at the end of each play he was given it.

"He went about learning how you teach ball security and I'd love to take credit, but he really did it on his own," Curry said. "He really trained those guys. They took great care of the football."

Curry said that the running backs didn't lose a single fumble all season. This was despite a slew of injuries at the position.

"Joe was always positive, he always got the next guy ready," Curry said. "He always knew what he was supposed to do."

Curry said that one way he evaluated the staff was by giving assistants seemingly insignificant chores. Hamilton's was keeping the team facilities clean. At one point, Curry noticed that "we got a little careless with the grease boards." He had a brief word with Hamilton, and the boards were "absolutely spotless after that. You don't have to tell him but once."

What do grease boards have to do with anything?

That Hamilton, it would seem, is willing to do whatever it takes, and that he isn't expecting any special treatment because of what he did on a football field 15 years ago. It's something I imagine Paul Johnson heard in some form from Curry before he made the hire. The DUI arrest and conviction made an obvious impact on him, something I wrote about for a story in 2010.

Said Hamilton, "I think I dealt with the man in the mirror more than anybody else thought about it."

What can he do in recruiting?

That remains to be seen. Among other things, NCAA rules change passed in January expanded the scope of athletic department staff that could contact prospects. Until the rules change, only the head coach and assistant coaches could contact recruits. The changes permitted anyone on the staff to engage in all recruiting activities and eliminated restrictions such as texting. However, the changes raised a firestorm of protest from coaches and the NCAA suspended the changes last week.

Obviously, having Joe Hamilton call up and text with recruits would have considerable cachet, although you can be sure every other school with money in the budget either has attempted similar hires or is contemplating them.

"First of all, we live in an age of celebrity," Curry said.

Beyond that, Hamilton's personality is hard to resist.

"He's so lovable," Curry said. "Everybody enjoys his company. He's fun to be with, he's funny, he knows when to be funny, when to be serious. He can talk trash with the guys in the locker room and he can be very dignified and straight up, and you have to be able to do both of those things in today's world. I think parents would love him. He's a natural when the moms and dads come around."

It will all get sorted out eventually, though it's unclear when. If nothing else, Hamilton can speak with prospects and their families on campus and be available to take calls even if he can't make them. (NCAA rules at their finest) Regardless, having Hamilton around the offices can only help. Quarterback Vad Lee tweeted to Hamilton to "be ready for every question that imma throw at you!"

To which Hamilton responded, "I'm at your service brother!"

Hamilton professed in 2010 to wanting to become a head coach someday, a goal I imagine he still holds. He's now 36, five years older than when he was first hired by Johnson. It would seem he's still got time to achieve his dream. It could be that he's now more capable of reaching it now than before.