The New Albany Bulldogs hired former Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond on Tuesday as defensive coordinator after he announced his resignation from the 6A school on Monday.
"Let me start by saying it's an exciting time for New Albany Football and I am glad Coach Hammond is going to be a part of it," New Albany head coach Cody Stubblefield said. "He is a great coach, a mentor and a true friend.
"The addition of Coach Hammond to our staff as our defensive coordinator is a crucial step in elevating our program to the next level. He brings a tremendous amount of experience and ability that both our players and coaches will benefit from. His knowledge and experience gained from coaching throughout his career will be a huge asset to our program. We look forward to getting back to work and excited that he will be a part of that."
New Albany Athletic Director Todd Lott was also enthusiastic about the hiring of Hammond and what he would bring to Bulldog football.
"Coach Trent Hammond is a tremendous hire for our school district as he will be a role model for our student athletes," Lott said. "To be able to gain someone who has many years of experience coaching on a very high level and a person of his character will definitely be a plus to the New Albany Bulldog football program."
Hammond coached Tupelo for seven years and led the Golden Wave to the 6A playoffs in each of his seasons there. His record at Tupelo was 64-24 and he led them to the 6A state championship game in 2013.
"Coach Stubblefield worked with me at New Albany so I have a great relationship with him," Hammond said. "I also came over and watched a game in the fall, I loved the way the community supported the team.
"I've also had the chance to be around Coach Stubblefield and some of his staff at coaching clinics and saw how tight they were."
Stubblefield served on Hammond's Tupelo staff for two years on the offensive side of the ball, so the coaches are no strangers to each other.
"I was on Coach Hammond's staff for two years as the offensive coordinator at Tupelo High School," said Stubblefield. "During that time we were 23-2 and finished with two undefeated regular seasons.
"Coach Hammond not only allowed me to run the offense, but also to assist in other aspects of coaching that helped prepare me to be a head coach. For this I will always be grateful and I grew as a coach during my time with him at Tupelo."
Hammond shared his thoughts on what to expect from his defensive approach in the season to come.
"I would love to bring in the schemes I've used at several stops, but I will be evaluating the players as to what elements fit us best," Hammond said. "The good thing about our scheme is that it will be one that allows our kids to play fast.
"I want us to play Fast, Physical and Have Fun! I think if you do the first two then the third takes care of itself. Fast - gets a lot of tacklers to the ball carrier or a loose ball which is a good thing. Physical - means we're good tacklers and are making it tough on offenses. We do those then we will have fun because the offenses aren't."
Hammond's coaching resume includes his seven years as head coach at Tupelo plus a three year stint prior to that at Amory. He also coached at Lawrence County, Water Valley and Franklin County. His overall record as a head coach is 152-74. Hammond was recognized as the Daily Journal Area Coach of the Year in 2011 while at Amory and 2013 at Tupelo.
Hammond is familiar with the opposition that the Bulldogs will be facing in division as well as non-division in 4A football from his coaching days at Amory.
"Class 4A has always been very competitive," Hammond said. "It's definitely a tough schedule and division, but that's the exciting part. You always get fired up playing teams that are well-coached and get after it."
Stubblefield was not surprised by Hammond's interest and willingness to make the move to New Albany.
"I was not surprised that he would consider New Albany," Stubblefield said. "I feel he made the best move for him and his family at the time. We have a great relationship and have stayed in contact during the past two years and he has been excited to see our program's progress.
"New Albany is a great place to work, where the administration, staff and community fully supports our efforts on and off the field. We have an excellent coaching staff and a great group of guys who have bought into our program and are excited about the future. I think Coach Hammond knows that we will have a lot of fun moving this team to the next level and I am thankful for him, our other coaches and this team."