December 18, 2012

Chief will change again at Murray County

Hammond done as Indians head coach

In 2006, more than a decade and a half of stability at the top of Murray County High’s football program ended when coach Bill Napier resigned.

Coaches have made quick exits after taking the top spot for the Indians since then, though, and now the school must fill the job again.

John Hammond resigned as coach Monday, ending a two-season tenure in which he was 2-18, with both of those wins coming from forfeits by Dalton and Southeast Whitfield for the use of an ineligible player in 2011. The next hire for the Indians will be the program’s fifth coach in eight years.

Including the forfeits’ original scores, the Indians were outscored 213-0 in Hammond’s first three games. Murray County gave up at least 41 points in each game under Hammond, was shut out seven times and scored more than 14 points in a single game just once.

Hammond said balancing the demands of family and head coach reached a tipping point.

“Basically, these two years were two long, rough years,” Hammond said. “We spent a lot of time working as hard as we could, and you spend a lot of time away from your family. I have two kids, and basically I have missed out on two years of their lives. Being a football coach is a 12-month job, and right now they are in high school and they will be heading out into the world, and I need to recharge the batteries.”

The Murray County program needs recharging as well.

Since Napier resigned following an 0-10 season in 2006, Murray County has had three coaches, none of whom lasted more than two seasons. Josh Lowe, who followed Napier, was 1-19 in two seasons, and John Zeigler was 4-16 in his two seasons before Hammond, a long-time assistant coach at the school, was hired in March 2011.

“It has been kind of rough as far as wins and losses, but dealing with these kids, I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Hammond said. “I met with (the players) today, and basically told them that. This has been a special group of young men who have always worked as hard as they could even when the success on the field wasn’t there. We played a lot of young kids and did the best we could with what we had.

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