This Saturday in Middleton, former Eau Claire North boys basketball coach Pat Hammond will be inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Sports Director Bob Gallaher sat down with the long-time Huskies' coach recently who says his HOF induction will truly be a special honor.
Pat Hammond, WBCA Hall of Fame Inductee says, "It went so fast, it's unbelievable, I like to tell people, being around 40 years, dealing with the kids, all the players I had, at all the schools keeps you young. Enjoyed it, it went by very quick, 40 years seems like a long time but when you think back, it really wasn't that long. I feel very honored, decided by your peers, people who have been around a long time, just appreciation for coaching 40 years, known an awful lot of people in the Hall of Fame but it's a great honor, I just appreciate those people picking me."
Basketball has always been in the blood of the Menomonie native, he played for the Blugolds and started at guard for legendary coach Bill Zorn. He began his own coaching career in Edgar, a road that eventually led to Eau Claire North. While with the Huskies, Hammond took seven teams to state, the memories are plentiful.
Coach says, "And the relationships have been developed over the years, how many players that have come back that you see, of course, 1989 when we lost the championship game, finished state runner-up in Division 1, lost by 1, and the other one has to be Andy Kleist's shot that made the top 3, 4 on ESPN, but they're all special, every team, every group of kids, they're all special."
Pat credits his family and wife Sue as the backbone to the longevity and success of his career. Along with his 477 wins, he opes to have left a legacy of someone who truly loved the game.
Hammond says, "It's been tremendous, I just hope that I have left (positive) things to people as my legacy, that made them better people, for the rest of their lives, and we always talked about hard work, never left a huddle without saying, 'let's hustle', and played with enthusiasm, I hope I left that on somebody."