Hammock is an exemplary choice


Courtesy NIU Athletics

Football head coach Thomas Hammock is among the 2022 Hall of Fame inductees.

The Northern Star Editorial Board would like to congratulate Head Football Coach Thomas Hammock and NIU for finding a perfect marriage. In sports, loyalty is never easy to come by, and Hammock exemplifies the Huskies’ “hard way.”

Hammock played football at NIU from 2000-2002 but had his career cut short due to a heart condition he was diagnosed with at the beginning of his senior year.

He then began his coaching career with stops at NIU, University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin while current NIU Athletic Director Sean T. Frazier was running the Wisconsin Badgers athletics.

After Hammock’s last job as an NFL running backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens, the door opened for him to return to his alma mater. His previous experience and ties to NIU make him more than qualified for the position.

At Friday’s introductory news conference, Frazier said even at Wisconsin, Hammock always had his eyes on NIU, making his return almost too good to be true.

“The first time I met Thomas, it was clear his goal was to be the head coach of Northern Illinois University,” Frazier said. “I didn’t know much about NIU. I got to know quick because I knew this coach was going somewhere, so I should know what NIU is all about. This is his dream job.”

To have a head coach that played, went to school and started his career at NIU is something the university should be grateful to have found.

Being a college football coach involves more than what meets the eye. From recruiting to training to game day, having someone who is dedicated to the program is key.

For Hammock being a football player is important, but he will not overlook the academics of his athletes.

“I was a two-time Academic All-American, so when I talk to kids about going to class and doing things necessary to be successful, it starts there,” Hammock said. “If I can’t trust you to go to class, it’s going to be hard to trust you on third down. It’s just that simple.”

In addition, Hammock has ties to the Midwest and will lean on connections to get his recruiting foot in the door, putting him in position to continue the Huskies’ winning ways.

Hammock is a self-proclaimed players coach: someone who has not only gone through the ups and downs of being a college athlete, but has done it at NIU. He will work to get the best out of his players while allowing them to be themselves on the field.

“Transitions [are] never easy.” Hammock said. “It starts with earning the trust and building the type of men and type of character off the field that’s going to translate on the field.”

We believe the athletics department has made an excellent choice in selecting Hammock to lead the Huskies football team.