To be a member of a Hall or Wall of Fame is a testament to your hard work, dedication and significant achievements.
Being in three of them, like Sandra Hamilton, is a special honour. It is a testament to incredible discipline and focus.
Considered the best female basketball player to represent Brandon University, she returned to the campus last weekend for the first time in 20 years to be enshrined in the Dick & Verda McDonald Sports Wall of Fame.
“This is obviously recognition of the hard work I put in and I am extremely honoured,” said Hamilton, who is also a member of the Sheridan College Sports and Basketball Manitoba Halls of Fame.
David Larkins, a university beat reporter for the Brandon Sun, said Hamilton was talented and fearless.
“She was the best female basketball player I’ve ever watched in person,” he said. “And I watched a lot of basketball. She shied away from no one and to this day, I wonder what on earth she was doing in Brandon, Manitoba. You could make a case for her being one of the top five pound-for-pound athletes to ever suit up at Brandon.”
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Hamilton came to Canada at a young age with her family who settled in Sudbury. After graduating from high school in northern Ontario, she enrolled at Sheridan College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning to pursue a career in fashion design and play basketball.
When she discovered the college didn’t have a women’s hoops program, she recruited players and started a team that entered the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) league the next year, when she averaged 22.9 points a game and was an All-Canadian and OCAA All-Star.
After completing the two-year fashion technique & design program at Sheridan, Hamilton arrived at Brandon in 1990 as a college transfer and immediately established herself as one of the premier players in women’s university basketball.
She was the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) leading scorer in 1991-92, averaging 22.5 points a game on her way to the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Most Valuable Player Award, a first-team All-Canadian recognition and the Nan Copp runner-up for the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (now CIS) Most Outstanding Player title.
Brandon University’s Most Outstanding Female Athlete for the three years she was at the institution, Hamilton won a Harry Jerome Award for sports excellence in 1993 – she was nominated by former Brandon athletic director and football coach, Doug Steeves, who passed away last May – and spent six years in Europe playing semi-professional basketball in England, France and Spain.
Hamilton was a community relations assistant with the Toronto Raptors before joining the Toronto District School Board as an educator.
Her older sister, Carol Hamilton-Goodale who won a Harry Jerome Award in 1989, was also an outstanding basketball player. The former Canadian player, Laurentian University Hall of Fame member and motivational speaker succumbed to cancer in March 2003.