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by Pete Donovan, The Lott IMPACT Trophy

NEWPORT BEACH, CA. – John Hamilton, the Chairman of the Board of the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the co-founder of the award, passed away Aug. 5. John was 78.

A passionate sports fan and highly successful businessman in Orange County, John was also the founder of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame and for many years the owner/operator of the popular Newport Sports Museum.

Said Ronnie Lott: “All of this (everything John did) spoke to the kind of person we all want to be. The reason that the Lott award meant so much to him was he wanted, he always exhibited, the character of all of us should want in life – and that is to be a great human being and have love, compassion, joy, and appreciation for all human beings.

“I think one of the things that gave him so much joy with the Lott award is each athlete that he met, he took a piece of them with him. And not everybody understands how to do that the way that John was able to do that.”

Former USC Head Coach John Robinson, a member of the Board of Directors for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, said: “John cared about young people, he cared about USC, he cared about college football.  And he was willing to do the work, not just stand by, he made things happen, he was in the middle of everything, not just on the sidelines, a great guy, a big loss…”

USC sent out the following release on John:
LOS ANGELES — John Hamilton, who helped establish the USC Athletic Hall of Fame, the Newport Sports Museum and the Lott IMPACT Trophy, died Wednesday (Aug. 5) in Newport Beach. He was 78.

Hamilton, a 1964 USC graduate and Orange County native, was a driving force behind the development of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and served as its chairman until 2015. For his efforts, he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

Also in 1994, he founded the Newport Sports Museum in Newport Beach, which housed 12,000 items of sports memorabilia until closing in 2014. Besides displaying rare sports artifacts from around the world, the Newport Sports Museum’s mission was to keep youngsters in school and off of drugs by getting them involved in athletics.

In 2004, Hamilton co-founded and chaired the IMPACT Foundation at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, which annually awards The Lott IMPACT Trophy to the nation’s top defensive college football player.

Hamilton worked in the real estate development and construction field. He was president of the Hamilton Company, a residential and commercial real estate agency in Newport Beach. He was involved with a number of charitable and community organizations, including Goodwill Industries, Big Brothers, The Pacific Club, USC Associates, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Richard Nixon Foundation. He received USC’s Alumni Service Award.

He is survived by wife, Kathy, son John Jr., daughters Kate and Jill, brother Rick and 10 grandchildren.

His late mother, Patricia Reilly Hitt, was the first female national co-chair of a presidential campaign (for Richard Nixon in 1968) and served as assistant secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (the highest ranking woman in Nixon’s first administration).

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