UPDATE, 2:49 p.m.: Gary Andersen just wrapped up his signing day press conference in Madison and shared a few more comments about Hammock's departure.
Andersen entirely positive about Hammock. "This is something that Hammock has wanted for a long time." #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
Regarding his earlier comments that Melvin Gordon will be involved in the hiring process, Andersen followed up with this:
Andersen says Melvin Gordon "is not a search firm," so there's that. Says it was important for Hammock to tell players he's gone. #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
Andersen: "I want Melvin Gordon to be able to communicate with me," just like he did when contemplating leaving for the NFL draft. #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
Shortly thereafter, Hammock himself took to Twitter to address his departure:
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.— Thomas Hammock (@CoachHammock) February 5, 2014
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— Thomas Hammock (@CoachHammock) February 5, 2014
To the fans of Wisconsin you guys are simply the best. On Wisconsin!!!— Thomas Hammock (@CoachHammock) February 5, 2014
UPDATE, 1:26 p.m.: Gary Andersen has confirmed Hammock's departure on CBSSports.com's Signing Day Central, adding a few more details in the process:
Gary Andersen confirms Thomas Hammock is leaving. "I know this, he was coaching the guys at 6:30 [a.m.]"— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
Andersen says he'd like to get a replacement for Hammock hired within a week, which still constitutes a patient approach. #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
Andersen adds that Melvin Gordon will be involved in the hiring process for Hammock's replacement. #Badgers— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) February 5, 2014
That last tweet is interesting, considering, you know, we're dealing with college athletes. But the running backs coach at Wisconsin is an invaluable position, wherein whoever fills Hammock's shoes will be working closely with arguably the best collection of backfield talent in the country. Hammock's immensely valued for his recruiting prowess, but he's obviously been instrumental in developing all of the backs mentioned below.
Yes, Gordon's probably gone after this year, but it can't hurt to have him fully on board with the hire. You can also be sure that between the presence of Barry Alvarez and the goodwill Andersen's built up in Madison so far this year, he's not getting final say in the process.
So once again, things are funky with Wisconsin's coaching staff. We're used to this by now.
Wisconsin brought in a talented, deep recruiting class on Wednesday's National Signing Day, but the most significant news could be the departure of running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Thomas Hammock. According to CoachingSearch.com, Hammock is heading to the Baltimore Ravens to serve as their running backs coach.
Hammock, who also served as assistant head coach, was on Wisconsin's staff since 2011 after a stint as a graduate assistant from 2003-04. Under his tutelage, the Badgers produced such running backs as Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement. Wisconsin also signed a pair of promising backs on Wednesday in Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw.
In addition to developing that incredible list of talented rushers, Hammock was an invaluable recruiter for Gary Andersen and Bret Bielema. As of Wednesday afternoon, 247 Sports rated Hammock the No. 16 recruiter in the Big Ten.
In Baltimore, Hammock will replace Wilbert Montgomery.
After playing football at Northern Illinois, Hammock began his coaching career as a GA for Wisconsin. From 2005-06, he returned to NIU as running backs coach before serving the same role at Minnesota from 2007-10. That last year, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator before returning to Madison in 2011.