Silver Lake coaching legend C.J. Hamilton focusing on his health while eyeing return to sidelines

Rick Peterson


For 46 seasons C.J. Hamilton has been hands on with every aspect of Silver Lake's highly-successful football program.

Coaching remotely is not something the winningest football coach in Kansas history ever envisioned as the Eagles prepare for the start of the 2021 season, but Hamilton also realizes he has no choice.

A health battle that is now closing in on 18 months began when Hamilton was seriously injured when kicked by a cow in his right knee while working on the family farm in April of 2020. 

C.J. HamiltonC.J. Hamilton


The 70-year-old Hamilton, who has posted a 438-95 record at Silver Lake with eight state championships and 18 championship-game berths, has faced a series of challenges since then, including battling debilitating infection over the past several months.

"I got kicked last April, but then this infection started in February this year,'' Hamilton said. "I was back for a while in school and coaching until February when I got sick. When I got sick I just thought I had flu or COVID or something and then they tested my blood and they said, 'Man, you've got a major infection and we've got to get you taken care of now.' In February they took out my knee joint and put in an antibiotic spacer and they took out my shoulder joint and put in an antibiotic spacer.

"I was feeling pretty good in July and I thought, 'Good, I'm going to be ready to go.' I was moving around a lot more, but all of a sudden my knee swelled up and I went in to Dr. (Michael) Tilley and he drew some blood and it was all (infected) and everything else so at that point, at the end of July, he took the total knee out and put a rod in. I've got metal everywhere.''

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Rick Peterson


E97GT2OXIAIT 1aWyatt Arnold

Wyatt Arnold, Washburn Rural

A senior team captain, Arnold is in his fourth season as the Junior Blues' starting goalkeeper, helping 16-4-1 Rural post a fourth-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament last fall, recording 11 shutouts. A first-team All-City and All-Centennial League pick as a junior, Arnold is No. 3 on Rural's all-time list with 28 career shutouts.

E97CoIiXEAUayszKyson Evans

Kyson Evans, Seaman

Evans, a senior, will be counted on as a leader this fall for the Vikings, who are coming off a 7-7-1 season in 2020, advancing to a 5A regional final. Evans earned All-City and All-Centennial League honorable recognition as a junior.

Jordan GarvinJordan Garvin

Jordan Garvin, Shawnee Heights

Garvin was a first-team All-City and All-United Kansas Conference first-team selection and earned second-team All-Class 5A honors last season as a sophomore. Garvin scored 18 goals and recorded six assists as Shawnee Heights posted a 14-5-1 record and finished third in the 5A state tournament.

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