Badgers Hire Hammock As Running Backs Coach

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has added Thomas Hammock, formerly of the Minnesota Gophers staff, as the new running backs coach for UW.

MADISON — Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday that he has hired Thomas Hammock, a former graduate assistant with the Badgers, as running backs coach. Hammock was a GA at Wisconsin in 2003 and 2004 and has spent the last four seasons at Minnesota.

"Much like the hiring of DeMontie Cross, Thomas is a coach that I have watched grow and am excited to finally have as a part of our staff," Bielema said. "I first met Thomas when I was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin eight years ago and I have been impressed with his coaching ability and work ethic ever since. He has worked his way up in the coaching ranks, and is a great addition to our coaching staff. He will help us in all three phases that are important to us, recruiting the right players for Wisconsin, developing players on the field and molding them into successful young men off the field."

"I'm excited about the opportunity to come back to Wisconsin and join Coach Bielema and his staff," Hammock said. "I look forward to continuing to grow as a coach, working with the players and competing every day to get better."

Following three seasons as the running backs coach, Hammock spent last season as Minnesota's co-offensive coordinator. Under Hammock, the Gopher offense moved up 26 places in the national ranking for rushing offense and 34 in total offense over the previous season. Following a mid-season coaching transition, Hammock took over play-calling duties for the final five games. During those five games, he led an offense that helped the team secure wins in its final two games, including its first rivalry win in four years, defeating Iowa for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy.

Prior to joining Minnesota, Hammock served as the running backs coach at Northern Illinois. Under Hammock's tutelage, NIU running back Garrett Wolfe led the nation in rushing (148.3 ypg) and all-purpose yardage (167.0 ypg) in 2006. Wolfe was named the 2006 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and was first-team All-MAC in both 2005 and 2006.

Hammock spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin from 2003-04, helping the Badgers make Music City (2003) and Outback (2004) bowl appearances.

As a player, Hammock ranks ninth on the Northern Illinois all-time rushing list with 2,432 career yards. He logged 1,083 yards as a sophomore in 2000, ranking 12th in the NCAA (120.3 ypg.), and posted 1,095 yards as a junior.

Unfortunately, Hammock's senior season was cut short due to a potentially life-threatening heart condition in 2002. Adversity propelled his coaching career as he turned his attention towards becoming a student coach and helped Michael Turner post a MAC single-season rushing record of 1,915 yards in 2002.

Hammock earned his bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois in 2002 and a master's from Wisconsin in 2004. He and his wife, Cheynnitha, have one daughter, Tierra.

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