Prep football: Pleasant Grove hires Hunter's Les Hamilton as coach
Les Hamilton will be announced Thursday as the next football coach at Pleasant Grove High School, a move that comes just five months after he started at Hunter and a year after he stepped down at Alta.
The Tribune learned Wednesday night that Hamilton, who won two Class 5A championships in six seasons at Alta, accepted an offer to replace Vikings coach Dale Sampson. Sampson retired last month after nine years as the head coach and 24 overall in the program.
Pleasant Grove is expected to announce the hire on Thursday, after Hamilton speaks with his Hunter team, a source said.
Hamilton coached the Wolverines for one season, a discouraging 3-7 campaign that ended with a 51-6 playoff loss to eventual Class 5A champion Lone Peak on Oct. 28. In nine years as a head coach he is 77-36. He coached Alta from 2005 through 2010 and won state titles in 2007 and 2008.
"I think he's a great coach," said Bingham coach Dave Peck, whose Miners played Alta in either the semifinals or championship game five of the six years Hamilton coached Alta. "Obviously he's making a move because it's in his best interest. It will be interesting to be in the same region and competing with him next year."
The move to Pleasant Grove represents just the latest in a whirlwind and peculiar last year for Hamilton.
Last fall he left Alta for a position as an executive in Chile with a company that specialized in exporting giant squid. After leaving the country, allegations surfaced that Hamilton had accepted bribes and committed acts of wrongdoing while at Alta, which were quickly found to be untrue by the Canyons School District.
In June, Hamilton replaced Dustin Pearce as the head coach at Hunter, telling The Tribune at the time, "I expect the expectation level to be high here."
But Hunter quickly proved to be Hamilton's greatest coaching challenge. The Wolverines struggled to transition from their smashmouth run-heavy history to Hamilton's sleek spread offense. They did not score a point until the fourth week of the season and didn't win until the sixth.
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