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Atkins Coach Inducted into Winston-Salem State Hall of Fame

Atkins 1 By Scott Plaster

Atkins Academic & Technology High School

NOVEMBER 6, 2019 – On the night of Oct. 11, Atkins three-sport coach David Hamlin received the highest individual honor that an athlete at Winston-Salem State University can receive, being inducted into its Clarence E. “Big House” Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame.

His tenure at the university from 1987-89 bought him honors as one of the top football punters in WSSU history, punting for over 1,600 yards each year, with a top average of 39.2 yards. Hamlin was also a member of the 1987 and 1988 CIAA championship teams, the 1988 all-CIAA conference team, and ranked in the school’s top 10 all-time punting average.

WSSU inducts a new class of athletes, coaches, and volunteers each year after a voting process by a 15-member panel. 

“It feels surreal,” said Hamlin. “I never dreamed of an honor like this. I never thought of something that my daughter and family and possible current players will be able to see even when my time has passed on.”

Hamlin coaches a sport in each season at Atkins: football in the fall, wrestling in the winter, and girls lacrosse in the spring, and he is well loved by his players and their parents. “You can really tell he cares a lot about his players and he puts others before himself,” said senior football player Bryce Holmes. Multisport senior athlete Isaiah Trollinger said, “He’s been my greatest coach ever.”   

If football fans were to look at Hamlin now, they definitely wouldn’t say, “Oh, he’s a punter.” Well, that was the case when he was being recruited in high school, where he played at Eden Morehead. “My size, most punters back then were around 160-175 and I was 250 pounds,” Hamlin explained. “Most people looked at my size and felt like it was a fake or that I was a lineman who they made punt. Against UDC in ’88, the other team kept saying ‘Its a fake’ and then I kicked a 67 yarder.”

Atkins 2 Hamlin’s coaching philosophy obviously started forming during his early days at WSSU. Hamlin says his coach Bill Hayes saw something in him that he didn’t see in himself. After being redshirted his freshman year, he worked hard to be on the team, and also threw the discus for the track team.

“I realized early that college football at any level was tough. I had to work very hard just to stay on the team. No one gave me anything,” said Hamlin. “I had moments when I wanted to quit because I have never been pushed that hard and so much. But I knew that I had never quit anything that I started.”

The 1988 season, his confidence grew and after the first week of the season, he was number one in the country in punting and number one in pass efficiency. That year, the team went on to win its second CIAA conference championship. 

After getting a business degree from WSSU, Hamlin entered the business world in the car business, working his way all the way up to the sales manager position. He has been coaching for nearly twenty years, starting at Reynolds High School, and also coaching at Morehead High School in Eden, N.C., a Reidsville Pop Warner team, the Winston-Salem Falcons, Lift Academy, then back to Reynolds, before coming to Atkins.

As a three-sport coach, Hamlin has helped grow the Atkins athletic program. “Coach Hamlin has been an integral part of shaping Atkins Athletics into what it is today,” said Atkins Athletic Director Matthew Pratt. “His dedication to the school and the students is exceptional. His athletes learn more than x’s and o’s, they learn how to play the game the right way while becoming mature, respectful, young adults.”

Hamlin has also been successful in starting the women’s lacrosse team at Atkins, even already having multiple wins against well established teams.  

Hamlin’s philosophy and approach extends well beyond the field or mat, also. “He advocates for his athlete’s future by sacrificing his personal time to take them on college visits, attend individual camps, and speak with college coaches. Atkins would most certainly not be what it is today without his contributions,” according to Pratt.

The entire Atkins community congratulates Coach David Hamlin on this high honor!

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