T.J. Hamilton, coach, star player at academy

April 05, 1994

Rear Adm. Thomas J. Hamilton, one of the U.S. Naval Academy's all-time football greats, died Sunday of pneumonia in Chula Vista, Calif. He was 88.

An All-America halfback in 1926, when Navy was the national champion, he was later head football coach and was the academy's director of athletics in 1948-49.

After retiring from the Navy in 1948, he was athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh.

During World War II, he and other coaches developed a 12-week physical training program for prospective Navy pilots. He participated in the invasions of the Philippines and the Gilbert and Marshall islands, and other invasions and raids in the Pacific. His decorations include the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.

He was born in Hoopeston, Ill., and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1927.

During his first appointment as head coach at Navy, from 1934 to 1937, his teams won 19 and lost 8, and won two of their three meetings with Army and two out of three with Notre Dame. During his second tour, in 1946 and 1947, his teams managed only two wins and a tie.

He was inducted into the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in 1956. For 16 years, he was a member of the executive board of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

He is survived by his wife, Emmie; two sons, Thomas J. Hamilton Jr. of Chula Vista and William Hamilton of Columbus, Ohio; and two grandchildren.

Services were to be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Christ Church Episcopal in Coronado, Calif. A memorial service and burial at the Naval Academy will be announced later, the academy said.

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