CCISD hires from within for new head coach, athletics director
By TJ MAXWELL
With the future of the athletic world in doubt in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, the future of the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ athletic program has a new life under the direction of former assistant head coach Jason Hammett after the Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees voted 6-1 to hire him as the new athletic director and head football coach on Monday afternoon.
“After 20 years of coaching as an assistant coach, you think about what your goals are,” Hammett said in a brief interview after getting voted in by school board trustess. “This was my goal a long time ago. I appreciate Dr. Burns and the board and the confidence they have in me to continue the work we’ve been doing.
“I’m really excited, but it’s a little weird with the current situation. It feels a little weirder than it probably should. I wish we were rushing back to get the kids a workout right now, but that’s not the case. I’m just really excited about the chance to continue the work.”
As of press time on Monday, the University Interscholastic League has postponed all sanctioned activities indefinitely, leaving spring football up in the air.
Hammett spent the last two years as the Bulldawgs’ assistant head coach under Jack Alvarez so he has a lot of familiarity with the kids and the program, which will help keep the communication strong through this unprecedented crisis.
“It’s a huge advantage in this situation to know the kids,” he said. “I’ve been here since coach Alvarez came. It’s a chance to know where they’re at right now and how hard they’ve worked to get to this point and what’s the best direction to go from here.”
Hammett helped lead the Bulldawgs to the 2018 Class 6A Bi-District round in his first season. He was an integral part of the 2019 athletic facility upgrades to better support student achievement and more than double the number of students served simultaneously.
Working side-by-side with Alvarez for a while has created a synergy, so he expects the view from the outside to look very similar. Changes will be made, but they won’t be so obvious to the layman.
“I wouldn’t use the words a lot,” Hammett said about the changes he plans to make. “When you work with somebody, you have alignment. (Alvarez) and I are aligned on a lot of things, but I’m a bit of a different personality than him. There’s only one Jack Alvarez. There will be things that are going to be different. Everybody has their own personality and own traits on how they coach. Visually, it’s going to look a lot the same of what you would see from the outside with coach Alvarez.”
Coach Hammett brings more than 20 years coaching experience to the position, but this is his first stint as athletic director and head coach.
Hammett has also coached boys’ and girls’ soccer, track and powerlifting where he coached his squad to a state championship.
He has coached a pair of NFL players, along with dozens of college players.
In addition to his time at Copperas Cove, Hammett last coached at Ennis where he was teamed with Alvarez. He’s also had stints in Burleson, Carrolton and Robinson.
Hammett is married to his wife Lauren, who is also employed with the district. They have three children Hudson, Maggie and Griffin.
Hammett knows the difficulty of the position without the added difficulty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but realizes everyone is dealing with the same disastrous cirmustances.
“It affects everybody the same,” he said. “It’s not like a natural disaster that just came into one area or hit one school. This is affecting everybody the same. The UIL and how they’ve handled this has been awesome. They’ve tried every extent to play games, make plans and adjust. Everybody is in the same boat so I don’t feel like it’s a disadvantage for us, but everybody is ready to get back to normal.
“Our jobs can’t be done online. We’ve given the kids some workouts and stuff to do, but what makes it special is the relationships and the face-to-face stuff we get to do.”