FSU's Leonard Hamilton Ruptures Achilles Getting off Team Bus at NCAA Tournament

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 19, 2021

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton directs players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Saturday, March 6, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 83-73. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Robert Franklin/Associated Press

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton's NCAA tournament hasn't gotten off to the smoothest start—and his team hasn't even played yet. 

The 72-year-old told ESPN Radio he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while exiting a team bus Sunday. 

"Listen, if this is the only issue I'm going to have in life, I'm going to have a great life," Hamilton said (h/t CBS Sports' Kyle Boone). "I've never been injured and I ruptured my Achilles. But hey listen, I'm fine."

Hamilton joked he was chasing after a referee in the parking lot when the injury occurred.

In actuality, he misjudged how far the steps of the bus were from the pavement and fell to the ground, hurting his ankle and wrist, as well, per Curt Weiler of the Tallahassee Democrat

No. 4 seed FSU opens its tournament run against No. 13 UNC Greensboro on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and Hamilton will be there. The coach is walking under his own power and plans to be as active as ever on the sideline. 

"Nothing will change," Hamilton said. "Zero."

Ironically, this isn't the first time a coach ruptured his Achilles heading into the NCAA tournament. In 2015, Georgia State's Ron Hunter injured his leg while celebrating a 38-36 win over Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt championship, and the run that followed was nothing short of spectacular. 

Georgia State knocked off No. 3 Baylor 57-56 on a buzzer-beater from Hunter's son RJ after the No. 14 seed trailed by 12 late. The excitement over the shot knocked Hunter off the stool he was using to support himself and made for one of the more unforgettable March celebrations in recent memory.

If Hamilton's Seminoles have a similar stroke of luck, the coach may have to delay any further treatment for a few more weeks.