Badgers RB coach Hammock leaves for NFL's Ravens
FEB 05, 2014 4:54p ET
The byproduct of that success as the Badgers' running backs coach, naturally, was an opportunity to pursue coaching in the NFL. And Hammock accepted such an offer Wednesday to become the Baltimore Ravens' running backs coach.
CoachingSearch.com was the first to report the news Wednesday morning, on the same day as National Signing Day. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen later confirmed the news at his signing day news conference.
"Thomas was coaching the running backs this morning at 6:30," Andersen said. "He definitely since then has made a decision. It was important for Thomas to be able to get in front of his players and communicate with them. It was a very difficult decision, but Thomas has made that decision."
Hammock's departure is a significant blow to Wisconsin given his accomplishments.
Hammock, 32, was one of two holdovers on Andersen's coaching staff from the Bret Bielema era. He also was a talented recruiter -- he was the Badgers' recruiting coordinator as well as an assistant head coach -- with ties to the East coast. On the same day he left, Wisconsin announced the signings of three running backs: Taiwan Deal (Capitol Heights, Md.), Caleb Kinlaw (Goose Creek, S.C.) and Ula Tolutau (Glendale, Utah).
During Hammock's first season at Wisconsin in 2011, Ball tied the all-time FBS single-season touchdown record with 39 and became a Heisman Trophy finalist. In his second season, Ball earned the Doak Walker Award for the country's top running back. This past season, White and Gordon formed the top tailback duo in the nation, combining for 3,053 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.
"This is something that Thomas has wanted for a long time," Andersen said. "Some people want to coach professional football. It's been a driving force of his for quite a few years, and it's where he sees the best spot for him and his family, which I have the utmost respect for, the decision that he has to make."
Hammock will take over a Ravens team that averaged just 83.0 rushing yards per game and ranked No. 30 out of 32 NFL teams last season. He took to Twitter shortly after Andersen's news conference to thank the coach and his players in a series of three tweets.
He tweeted: "Coach Andersen is 1st class in every aspect of coaching. I learned a lot from him and truly appreciate everything he has done for my Family. To my players I love all you guys and really enjoyed working with you & helping you develop. It's been the best 3 years of my career so far. To the fans of Wisconsin you guys are simply the best. On Wisconsin!!!"
Andersen said Gordon, the Badgers' top returning tailback, would have input on the next running backs coach, though Andersen noted Gordon wouldn't be "a search firm."
"I simply mean that I want Melvin Gordon to be able to communicate with me just like I wanted Melvin Gordon to communicate with me when he was thinking about coming out in the draft," Andersen said. "I owe that to Melvin and to every kid on this football team to know that they can lay their head at night down on the pillow and make sure I'm doing my best as a coach that cares about them and allow them to move along in life in a quality way."
Whoever fills Hammock's position on the team will be stocked with plenty of talent. Gordon, a redshirt junior, rushed for 1,609 yards last season and 12 touchdowns while averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Clement tallied 547 yards and seven touchdowns in limited duty as a freshman and averaged 8.2 yards per attempt.
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