|Sulphur Springs baseball coach moving in from Whitehouse|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
June 16, 2005 - Jerrod Hammack will bring eight years of coaching experience and a resume that includes playing college baseball to the Sulphur Springs Wildcats after being hired this week as the next SSHS varsity baseball coach.
Hammack, who was head coach at Whitehouse for the last five seasons, will also coach freshman football and teach social studies. His wife, Carmen, was also hired as a high school math teacher.
He takes over for Rahn Smith, who decided after leading the Wildcats to a playoff berth this season that he would coach another spring sport next year.
Hammack had two former Whitehouse pitchers taken this year in the MLB amateur draft - Josh Wilson, who just completed his senior year, picked in the second round by the St. Louis Cardinals, and Josh Tomlin, a sophomore at Angelina College, was taken in the 11th round by the Padres.
He said pitching and defense are two of the areas he emphasizes.
"I expect us to be fundamentally sound, to hustle at all times," Hammack said." We're going to be a team that, in my opinion, plays the game the right way. We're going to emphasize pitching and defense because you're not going to hit every game. We're going to find ways to manufacture runs. We're going to try to take the extra base, be aggressive, hit behind runners if they're at second.
"We're not going to be a team that mouths at other teams. We've played several teams since I've been at Whitehouse that like to mouth at you. I want us to be a team that shows a lot of class and takes care of our business by playing as opposed to talking about it."
Before getting the head coaching job at Whitehouse, Hammack, 34, was a sub-varsity and assistant coach at Jacksonville and Nacogdoches. He's originally from Cleveland, Miss., and played high school baseball there and college ball at Delta State, a Div. II program that won the national championship last season.
He worked for his dad, who is an engineer, right out of college, but had a degree to teach and coach. When his brother-in-law called from Jacksonville to say there were some coaching openings, Hammack put in his application.
"I took that as a sign that maybe I need to give this a shot, and we've been out here ever since," he explained.
He made the move to Sulphur Springs after hearing good things about the community and school system.
"We've played Sulphur Springs in football and baseball, and I've always known Sulphur had a good tradition in athletics," he said. "Then, through further research, I've been surprised by the outstanding school system we have here."
The SSISD Board of Trustees approved Hammack's hiring on Monday and also accepted the resignation of assistant coach Josh Ragsdale, who is moving to Crandall and will be getting married this summer. Ragsdale's position, along with that of the assistant girls basketball coach, are still open.