Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and South Carolina coach Frank Martin have a relationship that dates a few decades — back to when Hamilton was the Miami basketball coach and Martin was a high school coach in the area.
Hamilton and Martin will face off on Sunday in Rock Hill, S.C., when the Seminoles and Gamecocks play at noon. The coaches spoke earlier this week not on basketball but instead on tolerance and understanding of one another. Sunday’s game is the No Room For Racism Classic, and is in part a way to remember the Friendship 9 from the early 1960s but also continue the conversation as it applies to events of recent years.
The Friendship 9 is a group of black men who sat down at a segregated lunch counter, ordered food and were refused service. When asked to leave, they were arrested. Instead of paying a $100 bail, they instead served 30 days in the local jail.
“I do believe there needs to be conversation,” Hamilton said. “There needs to be a clear understanding of these types of issues and look around the world and see the negative effects of people not being able to get along with one another and allowing our selfish motives to overtake good, sound judgement and reasoning. That’s why I always encourage dialogue, communication, understanding, patience.”
Hamilton and Martin discussed learning about the Friendship 9 as well as their relationship in the video below: