Departing Georgia Tech, new challenge for Joe Hamilton

College Football Hall of Fame member Joe Hamilton has moved on from working in Georgia Tech's recruiting office and will now coach quarterbacks privately. (GT Athletics/DANNY KARNIK)

College Football Hall of Fame member Joe Hamilton has moved on from working in Georgia Tech’s recruiting office and will now coach quarterbacks privately. (GT Athletics/DANNY KARNIK)

Joe Hamilton can finally scratch his itch.

The Georgia Tech great served almost three years in the football team’s recruiting office, evaluating prospects, showing them around campus and otherwise aiding Tech’s recruiting efforts. But, because of NCAA rules limiting on-field coaching to the head coach, the nine assistants and graduate assistants, he was unable to instruct players in any way.

“You’ve really got an itch, especially me,” Hamilton said. “I’m a football guy. That really was tough.”

After signing day, Hamilton left his position as a recruiting assistant to become a private quarterback instructor. Hamilton began work this week with QB Country, a six-year-old company with trainers in cities around the Southeast. Instructors like Hamilton teach middle-school, high-school, college and professional quarterbacks. Hamilton called the job his “destiny.” It fulfills his desire to be on the field, teaching and grooming quarterbacks

“That’s where my passion is,” he said. “That’s where I’m at home, where I feel good.”

It had been Hamilton’s hope that a spot would eventually open up for him on coach Paul Johnson’s staff, perhaps if one of the offensive assistants was hired away.

“I wasn’t maxing out,” Hamilton said. “I’m not a desk guy like that. I’m an interactive guy.”

He was particularly hopeful that a coaching job would open up specifically at Tech. Hamilton acknowledges that he probably didn’t pursue openings elsewhere as aggressively as he could have, leaning on the dream that he could coach at his alma mater and not uproot his family.

“I still wanted to be a part of Tech, and maybe to a fault,” he said.

After almost three years in Georgia Tech's recruiting office, Joe Hamilton will become a private quarterback coach. (AJC file photo/Johnny Crawford)

After almost three years in Georgia Tech’s recruiting office, Joe Hamilton will become a private quarterback coach. (AJC file photo/Johnny Crawford)

Moving forward

But, with the offensive staff staying intact, Hamilton couldn’t advance. He said he began communicating with QB Country founder David Morris last spring. He made the decision to leave Tech in the fall, but chose to stay with the team through signing day because he didn’t want to give the impression that he was jumping ship during a rough season.

Hamilton said he leaves Tech with no hard feelings and with gratefulness to Johnson for giving him a job in the recruiting office after he was not retained at Georgia State (where he was running backs coach for two seasons and recruiting intern for one) after a regime change. He shares the sour taste that Yellow Jackets coaches and players were left with after the 3-9 season and the hope that 2016 will be better.

“We all went down together,” Hamilton said. “We all learned a lot of things. I’m sure Coach Johnson and everyone are going to bounce back. I’m going to be their No. 1 supporter. That’s not going to change.”

Hamilton brings a unusual skill set to the job. On top of a playing career that earned him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame, during which he played under the acclaimed Ralph Friedgen, Hamilton coached at Georgia State and brings a high degree of understanding of the recruiting landscape after his tenure at Tech. He said he also plans to engage in public speaking.

“I’m not a guru, but I am a guy that I think has a lot to offer at the quarterback position,” he said.

For a beloved son of Tech, a new turn in the journey.

“It’s exciting me big-time,” Hamilton said. “I’m really excited about it.”

For more information on his services, Hamilton can be reached at joe@qbcountry.com.

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