NORMAN — For incoming Norman North girls’ basketball coach Rory Hamilton, coming to North is more like coming home.
Hamilton had been coaching at Class 4A’s Mount St. Mary for the last seven years. He took the team to the state tournament two years in a row and was happy with his team. There weren’t many jobs he would leave for.
But one of those jobs was Norman North. Hamilton lives in Norman with his family, including two children in the Norman Public Schools system, and lives five minutes away from his new office at North. Throw in a team coming off two consecutive appearances in the state tournament, and it’s an arrangement that Hamilton couldn’t turn down.
“There’s not many jobs I would have left Mount St. Mary for,” Hamilton said after coaching the Timberwolves in his first tournament at the helm last week. “But these Norman jobs don’t come up often, and that would be the only job I would apply for.”
It’s not just the convenience that drew Hamilton to the job; it’s the opportunity to coach a program that’s made a habit of sticking around the top of the game.
“There’s the challenge of coaching in 6A, and North has a good reputation in its sports programs,” Hamilton said. “It’s a new conference this year and lots of challenges. It’s exciting.”
The first of those challenges is figuring out exactly what he has to work with. The Timberwolves’ leading scorer over the past three years, Bri Kuestersteffen, graduated last year and — while most of the starting lineup remains — the Timberwolves will face a different dynamic and will need to find scoring threats.
Hamilton’s approach to doing so is to go back to the most basic way of building a rotation: subbing five players in and five players out at a time. It’s a concept that teams occasionally implement, though Hamilton’s reason for doing so in summer games is simply to familiarize himself with his team and the type of lineups he feels comfortable with.