When Pat Byrd resigned and took the same position at Class 5A Saltillo, Amory had nearly 40 people call, email or inquire about the job.
"We ended up interviewing 20 people and from the coaching circles, he came as highly respected," Amory superintendent Dr. Gearl Loden said. "He's been a successful coach and won, as a coordinator, two state championships, and he's been successful as a head coach."
His Franklin County team was two games shy of making it to the MHSAA Class 3A state championship game this year. In 2008, Franklin County lost to Tylertown in the semifinals.
"I think it's a good opportunity for me and my children and my wife to get into a great school system and a program that's rich in tradition," said Hammond, who will also serve as athletic director.
He'll be able to hire a coordinator and will likely serve as his own defensive coordinator. Typically a Wing-T coach, he said his schemes will fit the players.
"I'm not going to come in and say, 'We're going to run this system or that system,' without looking at kids and knowing what we can fit in," Hammond said.
Hammond, 42, was approved by the Amory school board before noon on Friday. He previously served as an assistant coach at Bogue Chitto in 1995-1996, defensive coordinator from 1996-2000 at Lawrence County (the Cardinals won a state title in 1999), co-defensive coordinator at McComb from 2000-2001 (the Tigers won the 2000 state title), spent 2001-04 as Lawrence County's head coach, 2004-08 as head coach at Water Valley and the last two seasons at Franklin County.
Hammond informed his players of the decision on Friday and will start in Amory when the second semester begins in January. Loden and Amory High principal David Poss said Amory definitely wanted a great football coach, but also a respected family man and athletic director who would make sure all of the sports at the school got the proper attention.
"He's down to Earth. He has a plan and you just get a good feeling," Poss said. "Obviously we want a good football coach, but football's not the only sport we have. We wanted to be sure somebody is paying attention to all of it."
Amory will host a meet and greet and news conference to introduce Hammond on Monday at 2 p.m. at the high school's media center.