Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Hamilton Chang update

There are often multiple roads to travel in order to accomplish individual goals. Some are easy, others more difficult; with paths sometimes suggested, and others garnered from experience. Count Hamilton Chang's interest in both basketball and mechanical engineering as longstanding accompaniments in his life, yet the route he took forward with each was one less traveled.

The Pre-Cal Maritime Days

“[Besides basketball] I did club swimming, and that could have been my sport," the 6-foot-5 Chang recalled. "Robert Robinson, my high school basketball coach (at Notre Dame High in Riverside) told me that very few athletes can play two sports and be good at them. You can do both and be kind of good, or you can work at one and be really good! I enjoyed playing basketball much more, so I went with that." The result? Chang's teams won three consecutive league championships, and he averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game as a senior in the 2008-2009 season.

Then, college beckoned and a choice needed to be made. While already committed to UC Riverside in summer of 2009, Chang still remembers the setting of this crucial moment. "I was at an IHOP restaurant with my parents and siblings." His mother and father said, "We don't want you to go to UC Riverside because it's too close to home. Why don't you try going to City College of San Francisco, and why don't you try playing basketball there?"

It was more a strong hint, than simply a question. The cornerstone for the suggestion was that Chang's uncles had attended CCSF back in the day and later transferred to UC Berkeley.

At the time, Chang's thinking was, "If it doesn't work out, at least I tried my best. I never wanted to be one to think 'what if' I had done that?"

So CCSF it was.

While a Ram, "I definitely was not a leader in stats but led by example -- being on time, doing the work in the court and in the classroom, handling my business," Chang explained. "I thought I was getting great benefits with playing the sport I love and earning priority registration for classes."

Then, there was the state championship won by the Rams in 2011, another finishing on top for Chang but at a higher level.

The Choice of a Four-Year School

Frank about his awareness of Cal Maritime (CM), Chang admitted, "I didn't know it existed until spring break 2011." Then Assisstant Head Coach Mike Warrington (on the men's side -- he is now the head women's coach at CM) "called me and asked if I would like to check out the school and play basketball for them. My aunt took me there and I found out they had my mechanical engineering major and about a near 90% job hire rate within three months of graduation. I saw it as a chance to really invest in my future life."

Chang ended up playing quite a bit for Coach Bryan Rooney and "that made it very enjoyable."

His two years as a Keelhauler resulted in a 46-17 overall record, a pair of California Pacific Conference tournament championships and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen as a senior in 2013 -- yet another period of success.

Here's Rooney: “Hamilton is a winner in every sense of the word. On the floor, he was a two-year starter on two national tournament teams. He was obviously a high achiever in the classroom and this commitment has helped lead to a tremendous future. I was always equally impressed at how much pride he took in becoming the most effective leader he could be. We had numerous conversations in his two years and none of these conversations focused on his playing time or shot attempts. Rather, they focused on how he could help his teammates and our team as a whole reach our potential. Simply put, Hamilton Chang is a special person.”

In his last year at Cal Maritime, Chang was named an Academic All-American and the California Pacific Conference Men's Scholar Athlete of the Year while sporting a 3.63 grade point average. Again not pulling any punches, he said, "I really worked hard for that award." This was not an easy feat for a mechanical engineering major.

Regarding his academic direction, Chang offered, "I'm not sure where the interest sprouted from. An uncle on my Mom's side retired as an electrical engineer. Another uncle is a mechanical engineer and worked for places like HP, Apple and Sonos. I just enjoy mechanical engineering  -- you can never learn enough. It's how the world works and I love the challenge."

Hamilton today

Now, he is working for General Dynamics NASSCO, a shipbuilding and repair contractor for commercial customers and the U.S. Navy, in San Diego. His occupation is in one of the Professional Development Programs which involves rotations into all the departments that contribute into the building of a ship.

As for basketball, "I dreamt briefly of the NBA but I didn't really see that type of lifestyle for myself. I play for some teams in San Diego and guys tell me I should try Taiwan and China but my job and family are more secure for me."

Looking at his accomplishments on and off the court, Chang is aware of his success in basketball and life but modestly offered, "I do the most I can the best I can, and that seems to work out pretty good."

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to mention; great person, polite, respectful and a joy to be around.