Hammond’s move to Tupelo leaves opening at Amory
AMORY – After last Wednesday’s announcement of Trent Hammond as the new head football coach at Tupelo High, Amory is left searching for its second head coach in the past three years.
Hammond, who led Amory to three straight playoff apperances including the North state final in 2011 and served as the school’s athletic director, said the decision wasn’t easy for him and his family, which includes wife Kim, freshman daughter Maddie and fifth-grade son Hayes.
“Amory is a great place, and it’s special to me. The staff and the administration have been great to me over the past three years,” Hammond said. “I think every coach has those schools where they look at and want a chance to be a part of, and it’s in the back of your mind though. When you so to speak get a mulligan, you look at it and say, ‘I think I’ll do it this time.’”
Amory High principal David Poss complimented Hammond’s work over the past three years.
“I want to thank Coach Hammond for the excellent work he’s done for us over the past three seasons. He’s done a great job with the program and with our kids,” Poss said. “We know it’s a great opportunity for him and his family, and we wish him the best of luck.”
Hammond said leaving his players, who he complimented for all their hard work, was the hardest part of making the move.
“The kids bought into our program and completely changed the identity of the way they worked. It’s special to me, and as a football coach you grow so close to those kids,” Hammond said. “You see them all through the school year and in the summer, and you help them go through girlfriend problems or grade problems. It’s so much more than coaching. So when you have to leave, it’s a tough thing to do, but sometimes for your opportunities and those of your family, you have to make those tough decisions.”
Amory School District Superintendent Tony Cook said he hopes to have a new coach in place as soon as possible once the new semester starts in January. Cook said he had a list of prospects that he hoped to contact and has also advertised for the position.
“It’s important for me to find the best fit for Amory,” Cook said. “Coach Hammond has done a great job and had a good year this season, even though I know he didn’t go as far as he would have liked in the playoffs. He’s done a great job getting us in the right direction, and we hope the next coach can keep us going in the same tradition.”
Cook expressed finding a coach with good character as his number one priority.
“The next coach has to be a good coach, but he also has to be a good character person,” Cook said. ““So many young men need that good role model, and Coach Hammond has filled that role.”
Cook said he would also look within the current football staff, but had not yet been contacted by any of Hammond’s assistants. Hammond met with the Tupelo assistants on Friday and was still evaluating whether any of his assistants from Amory would be able to make the move with him. Amory baseball coach Chad Williams will be acting athletic director.
Sophomore quarterback Jon David Poss said the team wasn’t surprised the opportunity opened up for Hammond with his recent success.
“We were a little shocked, but with the kind of success he’s had, you expect it,” Poss said. “I think they’ll find us the best guy for the job though next, someone who can keep the winning tradition we have now going.”
With 16 seniors graduating, including all five wide receivers, Poss will be one of the few starters returning next season.
“We’re losing some key guys next year, but we’re going to continue to work hard. We will have to find a way to win some games,” Poss said. “It may mean we don’t throw the ball as much as we did this season, but I think we’ll get a good coach who will help us figure out the best way to win.”
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About Melissa Meador
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