Ashland, Ohio -- Dr. Mark Hamilton, Ashland University Athletics' Faculty Athletic Representative, passed away on Sunday (Dec. 27) at age 67.
Hamilton, also an Associate Professor of Philosophy at AU in his 39th year overall at the university, was in his 23rd year as the athletic department's FAR. In that capacity, questions on eligibility and NCAA rules and regulations were directed toward him, he served on various hiring committees, and he also was a regular at Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meetings for athletic directors, institution presidents and faculty representatives.
"No one championed the student-athlete more than Mark," said Al King, Ashland Director of Athletics. "He put an incredible amount of time and effort into making the student-athlete experience as rewarding as it could be. Mark cared deeply for all his students. He would do anything for them. He was a compassionate man and he lived out, every waking moment, the words, 'Accent on the Individual.' Mark epitomized Ashland University's mission. He was Ashland University through and through.
"Mark believed in standards. He didn't believe in cutting corners ethically and he lived his life that way. I knew with Mark in our department I didn't have to worry about us sliding into gray areas. He wouldn't go for that."
From 1981-88, Hamilton served as an assistant baseball coach.
On the academic side, Hamilton, who began as an adjunct professor at then-Ashland College in 1981 and became full-time in 1985, taught courses on Sports Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Bioethics, Ethics, Christian Thought, Human Nature and C.S. Lewis. His book, "A Primer On Biblical Ethics," was published in 2014.
Hamilton previously served as the chair of the Philosophy department and AU's Hall of Fame Committee. On the GLIAC level, he served on the conference's executive and infractions committees.
Said Ashland head women's basketball coach Kari Pickens, "During my time at Ashland university, both as a player and a coach, Dr. Hamilton has been one of our biggest advocates and supporters. He took pride in bringing great people to the school he loved and lived with a commitment to excellence and integrity that was unmatched. He will be sorely missed."
"From going to school with my parents, to taking his classes as a student at Ashland University, to working with him in our athletic department, to helping me in my faith walk, Mark has been an instrumental part of my life," said Dusty Sloan, AU Director of Athletic Communications. "He bled Purple and Gold, he could be found at as many home sporting events as possible, where his passion for our teams, student-athletes and coaches was very evident, and it was obvious he lived the purpose and goals of Ashland University."
Hamilton continued the strong legacy of Ashland College/University Faculty Athletic Representatives, as he and Robert Wendling (1967-91) combined for nearly a half-century of service in the position.
"Think about the legacy of the NCAA Faculty Representative at Ashland," King said. "We had Bob Wendling and then Mark Hamilton – two pillars of the university who gave so unselfishly of their time to better the Athletic program.
"I'm going to miss the experience and perspective that Mark brought to his position. Those were invaluable. I'm also going to miss his whimsical, off-the-cuff comments that made me laugh and could brighten anyone's day. Ashland University has lost a good and faithful servant."
Hamilton, a 1971 graduate of Ashland High School and 1975 Wittenberg University grad, earned a master's degree in Philosophy from Cleveland State, a master's from Ashland Theological Seminary in Philosophy, Religion and Counseling, and a Doctorate from Ashland Theological Seminary.
As an Arrow basketball player, Hamilton still has the program record for single-season assists with 176 as a senior. He also was a captain on the Wittenberg baseball team.