By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Dec. 19, 2012 — A tough loss.
This is exactly what West Carter’s boys soccer program faces with the departure of Max Hammond as their head coach.
A vacancy at the head of the storied Rowan County soccer program found its replacement right across the Rowan/ Carter line in Hammond, as the former West Carter coach signed on to command the Vikings Monday morning.
Hammond architected the birth and growth of the West Carter boys soccer program. Having coached the Comets since 2008, he led his former team to their best season ever this past fall, finishing second only to Rowan County in the regular season standings with a final record of 12-8.
Hammond says he is happy with the opportunity he has been given, but thoroughly enjoyed his experience with the Comets.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity, and it is amazing to me that it has came this far for me,” Hammond said. “I’ve loved soccer since the days I was able to dribble a ball, and as far as coaching goes, I just really enjoyed working with the kids at West and we had a lot of success over there. It was not an easy decision, but I feel it was an opportunity I simply could not pass up.”
Brian Brown, West Carter Athletic Director, says the loss of Hammond is a big one due to the work ethic and care he brought to the program.
“Max started the boys program and did a great job,” Brown said. “He worked extremely hard and got the program to a competitive level in a short time. While we wish Max the best of luck at Rowan, he will be sorely missed at West. We will start the search for a new coach in January.”
Having a close connection with his group of players, Hammond wanted to thank his former family at West Carter.
“My kids over at West Carter were a great group and I want to thank them for giving me everything they had over the past four years,” Hammond said. “I feel we really did something special, bringing the program up from nothing. It is something I will always cherish.”
Suffering an upset in the first round of the 62nd District tournament to eventual 16th Region champion Greenup County, Hammond says there is a good foundation at West Carter.
“There was definitely some big players who will graduate this year, but there is a solid foundation for good soccer at West,” Hammond said. “Whoever takes over the position has a strong core group coming back, and I am confident they will do well.”
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.