Making a major decision

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, August 6, 2009

After making a major family decision, Roger Hammonds has decided to take the reins as the new Florala High School softball coach.

Since 2004, Hammonds has worked with the Covington County youth softball program, where he is currently serving as the vice president.

In addition, he will help coach the seventh and eighth grade boys basketball teams at Florala Middle School, as well as serve as an assistant on the varsity girls basketball team at FHS.

Right now, Hammonds is working towards his degree in social science and secondary education at Troy University.

He will head the access lab in the computer lab at FHS.

Hammonds said he can bring a sense of teamwork to the Lady Wildcats program.

“My motto is team first and individual second,” he said. “Everything is about the team at the high school level. It could be that some of these girls could go on to further play at the next level.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to, is to prepare them for and give them the opportunity to go on and play,” he said. “But my biggest goal is to buy into the team concept.”

After having preliminary meetings with the players, Hammonds said he gets a sense that the team can compete with powerhouse teams in the area.

“They truly feel they can go to the ball game and be matched up with Class 6A Enterprise or Class 3A Straughn or Class 1A Pleasant Home,” Hammonds said. “They truly believe they can go out there and play heads-up ball with them. They believe they have the same opportunity to play heads-up ball with them.”

Hammonds believes he can bring the program a strong amount of “respect.”

“I’ve been real successful with it and I’ve earned the respect of the kids as well as the parents coming up through that,” he said. “I just grew to love the game and I have a strong respect for the game. I’m just real excited about being able to come to Florala and being a part of the team there.”

Hammonds is bringing his three daughters, Heather, Brooke and Taylor with him to a new community.

Heather played on the Straughn softball team for the past two years as a first baseman and catcher. Brooke is entering her freshman year and Taylor will be in the sixth grade. He is married to Lachia Hammonds.

Hammonds said it was a “family decision” to move to Florala.

“There were some tears shed when they left,” he said. “They haven’t left any of their friends, with us being in the area. We’ll still have contact with them. So, it was a little emotional for them at first. It was a big family decision in order for me to do this.

“That was one of the things we talked about as a family, whether or not to stay in the current school system they were in or whether or not they’ll be interested in transferring,” he said. “It was going to be hard for me to come over here and fulfill that capacity and my daughters being over here and playing at another school. It’s not just a matter of coaching and wanting them to play for me — I just want to be able to see them play.”

After a short while, Hammonds said his daughters became more enthusiastic about the idea.

“They fully committed and got on board with it,” Hammonds said. “It came to a point they grew more excited as I was because they weren’t going to leave their friends. It opened up doors and opportunities to make other friends at Florala.”