Almost 20 years after coaching basketball for the first time, Lamont Hampton has achieved perhaps his top goal.
Pending school board approval, Hampton has been named boys coach at Groveport Madison, capping a three-year rise through the program that saw him coach the freshman team for one season and junior varsity for the past two.
“It’s definitely been a goal of mine. It’s an opportunity to step in and do what I’ve worked to accomplish for a long time,” Hampton said. “Being a varsity coach has been a lifetime goal.”
Hampton, a 1997 graduate of Grove City, succeeds Ryan Grashel, who resigned May 21 to become the coach at New Albany.
Hampton played two years at Urbana and two more at Wilmington, where he also served an internship as a student coach as a senior. Hampton went on to coach Central Crossing’s junior varsity for two years and came to Groveport in 2016 as a security specialist, one year before joining the basketball program.
Hampton is scheduled to graduate from Muskingum in December with a master’s degree in education and plans to become an intervention specialist.
Grashel went 95-95 in eight seasons with Groveport, including 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Capital Division this past winter.
As part of conference realignment, the Cruisers will join the OCC-Buckeye this coming season with perennial powers Newark and Pickerington Central as well as Central Crossing, Lancaster and Reynoldsburg.
Players eligible to return include guards Elyjah Aekins (6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.9 assists in 2019-20), Scotty Lomax (13.6 points, 1.8 assists), Abubakar Diallo (7.1 points) and Marlon Elliott Jr. (4.9 points). Aekins and Lomax are rising seniors and Diallo and Elliott Jr. are rising juniors.
“We’ll be up-tempo. We’ll push the basketball and … hang our hat on defense,” Hampton said. “It’ll be a tough league and we’re small, but we have a lot of guys with experience and some sophomores who got to play varsity last year. We’re extremely excited and I feel humbled and blessed.”