Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Thomas Hammock served as Minnesota's co-offensive coordinator on Tim Brewster's staff last year. In order to pursue a similar job, Hammock has decided to leave the Gophers.
Hammock, running backs coach at Minnesota since 2007 and the only assistant coach retained after Brewster's firing, has been hired at Wisconsin after realizing, according to new Gophers coach Jerry Kill, that the stability of Kill's staff means he likely would not have a chance to assume that role again anytime soon.
"It had to do with advancement in his career," Kill said in a statement released by the university that also announced the promotion of Brian Anderson to fill Hammock's role with the running backs. "Thomas felt the stability of our coordinator situation meant that the opportunity to advance from running backs coach to offensive coordinator would come quicker at Wisconsin."
"Thomas is a coach I have watched grow," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said of Hammock, who was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin from 2003-04. "I first met Thomas when I was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin eight years ago, and I have been impressed with his coaching ability and work ethic ever since."
Hammock had a reputation as a strong recruiter, and took over the offensive coordinator role by himself when Jeff Horton was promoted to head coach after Brewster's firing.
The departure means Kill has found a slot on his coaching staff for Anderson, who has been one of his on-field assistants since 2001 at Southern Illinois. Anderson has coached wide receivers and tight ends for Kill in the past, but accepted a job as defensive quality control assistant when Kill was hired at Minnesota.
"Brian had every right to be upset with me when I asked him to take an off-the-field position here," Kill said. "But he swallowed it up for the team. I told him if he came here and something like this happened, then I don't have to worry about the transition."
-- Hammock wasn't the only ex-Brewster assistant hired Wednesday. John Butler, who handled linebackers and special teams for the Gophers for four years, accepted the special-teams coordinator job with South Carolina.
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