The 63-times capped ex-Scotland lock, who is preparing to face Glasgow Warriors with his current club Saracens in the Champions Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, knows the former England hooker well, having played with and been coached by him at Leicester.
Hamilton, who played for Edinburgh between 2008 and 2010, said: “I think it’s fantastic and a huge statement of intent. They’ve gone for a big character who is a proven winner on and off the pitch. And they’ve gone for an Englishman, which is a statement in itself. I’m a huge fan of his.”
Cockerill was sacked by Leicester in January but last month it was announced that the three-time Premiership-winning coach would become the permanent successor to Alan Solomons next season on a two-year contract.
Duncan Hodge, who has been acting head coach since Solomons’ departure, will remain on the coaching staff.
Hamilton, meanwhile, feels his former club have their work cut out in tonight’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against French league leaders La Rochelle at BT Murrayfield.
“La Rochelle are a fantastic team. I don’t watch a lot of French rugby but when I saw they were leading the Top 14 I was intrigued and have watched them a couple of times recently,” said Hamilton.
“Edinburgh can win on the night I suppose but for me it’s a bigger picture for them, they need to look long term. They need consistency and success.
“Let’s be honest, the Challenge Cup is still a good competition but ‘good’ is as far as you’d go. They’ve got to find a way up the Pro12 and into that Champions Cup.
“But it’s good to see them in the quarter-final, they made the final a couple of years ago.
“It’s an opportunity for silverware but La Rochelle will be tough.
“I always want to see the Scottish sides do well and it’s fantastic to see Glasgow now on the world stage, because that is where [the Champions Cup] puts you.”