Hammond departing Franklin Co.

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MEADVILLE – For the third time in five years the Franklin CountyHigh School Bulldogs will be conducting a state-wide head footballcoach search to find another general to oversee the department.

Franklin County players and staff received stunning news Fridayafternoon that their boss, Trent Hammond, has left the program fora similar post in north Mississippi. Hammond will be introducedMonday as Amory’s new head football coach and athletic directorduring a scheduled 2 p.m. news conference.

“I’m excited about going to Amory, but at the same time it’stough having to leave these kids here at Franklin County,” saidHammond. “This is by far the hardest move I’ve ever had tomake.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

During the last two seasons, Hammond oversaw a talented Bulldogteam, going a combined 22-6 overall, reaching the third round ofthe State Playoffs this season and the South State finals in2008.

“I’m shocked,” said Franklin County All-State defensive tackleBobby O’Quinn. “I don’t know what we’re going to do now. We’rebasically right back where we were two years ago.”

A coaching search is expected to begin immediately, and alreadyseveral coaches with links to the program have surfaced as topcandidates for the position as a trio of Class 6A assistant coachesin Grady McCluskey (Columbus), Jeremy Loy (Tupelo), and Cody Zumbro(Clinton).

Members of the current Franklin County coaching staff are alsodistinct possibilities in assistants Michael Goff, Tony Gibbs,Brent Calcote, Rickey O’Quinn Jr., and Adam Barron, a former NorthPike head football coach.

McCluskey and Loy have a similar history with the Bulldogs.McCluskey served as FCHS head football coach from 2005-2007,winning the Class 3A State Championship in 2006. Loy was the team’soffensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. Zumbro is a 1997 FranklinHigh alum and son of retired Franklin County baseball coach EdZumbro.

“Hopefully we’ll get somebody in here quick that will stay forawhile,” said Franklin County junior Preston Shelton, an All-Statetackle. “We’ve got a history of winning here. And we want tocontinue that.”

The unexpected hiring of Hammond by Amory officials sentshockwaves through the state. The Amory School board approved thehiring during an emergency session Friday, which left FranklinCounty absent of a head football coach for the fifth time since2001.

“Honestly this wasn’t something I went looking for. They came tome,” said Hammond. “It’s a good opportunity for me and for myfamily. It’s a big raise in pay, too.”

Several Franklin County players stopped by the FC football fieldhouse Friday afternoon to share hugs and condolences with Hammond.The Bulldogs went 10-4 this season, finishing behind 3A championTylertown in the division race.

“The kids here are extremely special,” added Hammond. “They area hard-working bunch that I will always remember.”