As head coach at the University of Kansas and the University of California, Brutus Hamilton coached athletes to seven collegiate team titles and two world records.
As a talented athlete at the University of Missouri, Hamilton won the 1920 Olympic Silver Medalist in the decathlon, leading the competition until the final event. He also finished sixth in the pentathlon in the 1920 Games, and added a seventh place finish in the pentathlon in the 1924 Olympics. Hamilton moved into the coaching ranks in 1929 when he accepted the head coaching position at the University of Kansas. While there, he coached Glenn Cunningham, an Olympic Silver Medalist in the 1500m and widely considered one of the greatest middle distance runners in U.S. history.
In 1933, Hamilton accepted the head coaching position at Cal, where he experienced his greatest success. In addition to the seven collegiate team titles and two world records, Hamilton’s teams included seven Olympians. Among his talented athletes at Cal were sprinter Harold (Hal) Davis, pole vaulter Guinn Smith, and middle distance runners Jerry Siebert and Don Bowden, the latter of which was the first American to break four minutes in the mile. Cal finished as runner-up in the 1940 and 1941 NCAA outdoor track & field championships, but Hamilton left coaching after the attack on Pearl Harbor to serve in the Army Air Corps.
At the end of World War II, Hamilton returned as Cal’s athletic director and head track & field coach. University regulations required him to retire in 1965 at the age of 65.
Hamilton served as a U.S. Olympic coach on three separate occasions: as assistant coach in 1932 and 1936 and as head coach in 1952. He is the only U.S. Olympic medalist to later serve as a U.S. Olympic Team head coach. Hamilton is recognized for his many accomplishments in the University of California Athletics Hall of Fame, the University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame, and the USATF Hall of Fame.