Hammond led the Panthers to the 2011 Class 4A North finals, three playoff appearances and also served as the school’s athletic director.
Amory School District Superintendent Tony Cook said he will contact a list of prospects and advertise for the coaching position.
“We want to find a guy who’s a great fit for Amory, and that’s a guy who’s not only a great coach, but a good character guy,” 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. Amory baseball coach Chad Williams will be acting athletic director.
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,” Poss said. “We know it’s a great opportunity for him and his family, and we wish him the best of luck.”
Hammond, who has two children in the Amory School District, said the decision was difficult.
“Amory has been a great place to work, and it’s been so much more than coaching,” Hammond said. “As a football coach, you grow so close to the kids, so when you have to leave, it’s tough.”
Hammond will meet with the Amory football team at the first opportunity today.
Sophomore quarterback Jon David Poss, who will be one of the returning starters next season, said the team wasn’t surprised the opportunity opened up for Hammond with his recent success.
“We’re losing some key guys, but we have to find a way to win some football games next year,” Poss said. “It may mean we don’t throw the ball like we have, but I think we’ll get a coach who can help us find the best way to win.”