After 13 years, Rich Hammond is out as Clovis High football Head Coach

Former Clovis High head football coach Rich Hammond calls in a play in 2019. (Gabe Camarillo/Clovis Roundup)

A new era of football will be coming to Clovis High School, but with it, a 13-year run of consistency under Rich Hammond ends.

Hammond announced Wednesday morning that he will no longer be the head football coach at Clovis High. He has been the Cougars’ lead man since 2009 and built a 93-44 record during that time, including 12 consecutive winning seasons.

The only losing season of Hammond’s tenure was his first year when the Cougars went 3-7 in 2009. It was still an improvement over the program’s performance in the two years before Hammond’s arrival; the Cougars were 2-19 in 2007 and 2008.

The achievements of Clovis High football teams under Hammond include three TRAC titles (2011, 2012, and 2015), five appearances in the Central Section semifinal round, and one appearance in the Central Section Division-I championship game in 2015.

That was the peak of Hammond’s playoff success, however. Since losing to Liberty-Bakersfield 56-21 in the championship game, the Cougars have been eliminated in the quarterfinal round five straight times in the playoffs.

“It’s a results-oriented business,” Hammond said. “It’s just the way it is… Clovis High is a program where you have to come in — and we were obviously consistently winning — but you have to win championships.

“The bar is obviously set high, and I hope the program finds the right person. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had and, more than anything, I want to continue to see the program have success.”

Hammond said he was informed Tuesday evening of the school’s decision to relieve him of head coaching duties, a decision which left him “surprised.”

“I’m disappointed with not winning a couple more games over the course of the season, obviously having some really close ones,” Hammond said. “But I’m proud of what we did and love the community. I live in the community; my kids go to the schools here. I’m proud of what we did out on the field and most proud of what kids are doing on the back end. Being here for 13 years, you see kids grow up and go out in the world, and so many of our kids come back as teachers, police officers, and firefighters, serving the community. Those are the things I appreciate being here long enough to see.”

During Hammond’s time at Clovis High, two of his former players have also gone on to the NFL — Class of 2015 grad Adam Prentice suited up for the New Orleans Saints this past Thanksgiving, and Class of 2016 grad Josh Hokit played Fresno State football before landing a spot on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.

After 13 years with Hammond at the helm, filled with All-State players and memorable games, Clovis High looks to the future and a new head coach. 

Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.