Public Relations Students Interview Head Basketball Coach Leonard Hamilton

This semester, students in Professor Chanta Haywood’s speechwriting class had the experience of a lifetime. Instead of writing speeches for figurative occasions or historical figures, students interviewed FSU Head Basketball Coach, Leonard Hamilton.

Haywood wanted her students to write speeches that use language well and reflect solid critical thinking, while also getting real-life experience of the complex process that speechwriters for public figures must navigate.

“I thought that Coach Hamilton fits the definition of a public figure,” Haywood explains. “Being that [the students] are at a university with a Coach who brought such positive attention to our school last year, I thought it would be an excellent idea if they applied the concepts I taught them in class to writing speeches for him.”

The class was split into four groups, one for each speaking occasion. The first group wrote a speech for JPII Catholic High School’s graduation, the second for a visit to the Boys and Girls Club in Quincy, FL. The third group concentrated on a speech for the Mothers of Professional Athlete Association and the fourth group prepared his remarks for the FSU Boosters Banquet.

The students were tasked with researching Coach Hamilton’s background, past presentations, and overall presence. To reach higher standards, Professor Haywood arranged to have Coach Hamilton join the class via zoom for one of their regular meetings.

“Even though they had conducted research on Coach Hamilton, I knew that for the students to really pull the speech together, they needed to get a real sense of his disposition, humor, insights, voice and all,” Haywood said.

Anna Wood, a senior in Public Relations, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. “Not only did this assignment give the class incredible experience applicable to our real careers, but we can also now say that we interviewed a legendary FSU coach,” she said. “Not many students get to say that!”

Haywood says, “Maybe when we win the national championship next year, students from my class will write Coach Hamilton’s speech.”

Zoom Screenshot