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Hammond leaving for Water Valley

MONTICELLO — Trent Hammond is going to Water Valley to becomehead football coach. He announced his intentions Tuesday to leaveLawrence County High School after three years at the helm.

Hammond’s latest edition advanced to the Class 4A statequarterfinals, where the Cougars lost to West Jones. It was thethird straight year for them to reach the state playoffs. He wasnamed The DAILY LEADER’s Area Coach of the Year in 2003.

Located 12 miles from Oxford, Water Valley is recognized for itsexcellence on the gridiron. “It’s just a football-rich school wherethey have enjoyed success for quite a long time,” said Hammond. “Ithink it’s an interesting job and it’s a good community.”

Hammond said he has enjoyed coaching at Lawrence County. “We’vemade the state playoffs three years in a row for the first time inhistory.

“Whoever comes in here will be getting some great kids who wantto win and love football. We have had the opportunity to work withsome great assistant coaches, too.”

Hammond said retired Lawrence County Superintendent of EducationJohn Bull gave him the opportunity to become head coach at LCHS.Principal Dr. L.C. Firle and newly-elected Superintendent RussellCaudill also supported his coaching efforts.

“I want to thank Mr. Bull for giving me the opportunity to be ahead coach without me having any previous experience,” saidHammond. “I also want to thank Dr. Firle for supporting me and Mr.Caudill for his support.”

In three years at LCHS, Hammond compiled a 23-12 record. TheCougars were 10-3 last season.

Hammond said he is excited about the new opportunity but it isbitter sweet “because I’m leaving behind a lot of greatpeople.”

Hammond, 36, was an assistant coach to Lee Bramlett on the 2000McComb team that won the Class 4A state championship. He coachedfor four years as an assistant at Lawrence County, helping theCougars win the state title in 1999 when Danny Adams was headcoach.

A Lawrence County native, Hammond graduated from Durant HighSchool. He later graduated from Delta State.

His wife, Kim, is an occupational therapist at the HumanPerformance Center in Monticello and they have two children,Maddie, age 5; and Hayes, age 2.

Hammond replaces Gary Drewery who is becoming full-time athleticdirector at Water Valley. He will have several assistant coaches onstaff. The Blue Devils made the third round of the state playoffslast year.

Hammond said Water Valley dressed out 59 varsity players lastseason. He said the Blue Devils play three 4A schools and a 3Aopponent during the season. He teaches economics and government atLawrence County.

“This move also brings my wife closer to her family,” Hammond.”She’s from the Delta. Now she’ll be about an hour and 15 minutesfrom her family in Leland. My sister lives in Independence,” justnorth of Oxford.

Lawrence County athletic director Tony Davis said Hammond hadachieved a high level of success coaching the Cougars. “We werevery pleased with the job Trent did here for three years. We aresad to see him go but we also understand that people have to dowhat is best for their family. He had a good run here and he’sready to move on.”

Davis said the coaching vacancy had not been advertised butwould be in the near future. He also is looking for a girlsbasketball coach to replace Archie Ross who retired last month tobecome a full-time supervisor in Lawrence County.