PLEASANT VIEW -- Matt Hammer is still all Weber.
Weber State's former offensive coordinator, recently named the head football coach at Weber High, arrived at a recent interview wearing a Wildcats jacket and a Warriors polo shirt.
The former Clearfield High standout, 30, has gone from heading up Weber State's offensive attack this past season to heading up a high school program in need of rejuvenation after 24 consecutive losses.
Hammer was looking to make a change of his own to reduce his travel and time away from his wife Sheena, his 5-year-old son Jagger, and 3-year-old daughter Skylee.
"I knew I wanted a change for my family. I wanted to see my kids more," Hammer said.
Coaching high school football fit the bill. "Ultimately, it's a good situation where I didn't have to move my family anywhere to take a job."
Hammer had already been forced to consider that scenario just a year ago, after Weber State head coach Ron McBride's retirement. He had discussions with Sacramento State about the Hornets offensive coordinator position before being rehired by incoming WSU coach John L. Smith.
As Weber State's season 2012 began to wind down, Hammer began to look around for options that would allow him to see his family more. He told WSU athletics director Jerry Bovee and interim football coach Jody Sears of his intention to seek the Weber High job during the final week of the season.
That gave Sears, who has since been given a three-year contract extension as WSU's head coach, an opportunity to bring in his old high school and college teammate, Montana offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach, a former NFL quarterback, in as the new O.C. at Weber State at the same time his own hiring was announced.
Weber State battled through a 2-9 season in the aftermath of Smith's sudden departure and Sears' unexpected promotion in late April, but Sears handled the situation well, Hammer said.
"I told Jerry all the things that I truly believed in in Jody as a coach and what he was about as a person and how much respect I had for him. The things that he instilled in that program and the consistency that he did it in. It would have been real easy for him to come through and just degrade players and degrade coaches (after) what the season presented itself as and where it was going. He just kept it together," Hammer said.
The Wildcats' offense sent him off in style with its best performance of the year, hammering Idaho State 40-14 as senior running back C.J. Tuckett rushed for a school-record 289 yards.
At Weber High, Hammer will try to change a culture that hasn't seen much success recently.
Coaching high school players is different in some ways from college, but similar in others, he said.
"A lot more technique, a lot more fundamentals, but I only know how to do it one way. I'm going to coach them hard just like I'd be coaching the kids (at Weber State), try to put as much on those kids as possible," he said.
"I'm going to love them, they're going to love me. I'm going to be very hard on them, put my foot right in the middle of their back at times, they might hate me, but at the end of it, I guarantee that just like all the kids I've dealt with at Weber (State), we'll leave that place with a lot of respect and a lot of love for one another for the things that we've had to go through, being around a game that's great."
It will be Hammer's first experience coaching high school -- six weeks after playing his final game for Southern Utah, against Weber State, he was working for the Wildcats as a grad assistant under McBride in 2006. He moved up quickly in his college coaching career and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2009.
Now, turning around Weber High's football fortunes is a challenge Hammer looks forward to.
"There's a lot of kids out there that haven't playing football for one reason or another because of the lack of success that they've had for the last eight to 10 years. They won a state championship and it's just been a freefall from there. It has nothing to do with any of those coaches that's been there," he said. "I've known all three of them, and they're three wonderful people, but the culture has to change, what is expected and what is tolerated on the football field and where it's important if I miss a tackle or drop the ball or whatever it is."
Hammer said he will get involved in the little league and junior high programs to get kids excited again about becoming gridiron Warriors.
As for a return to the college sidelines someday, "I'll never say never, but for the next 12-13 year, I don't see it. I want to coach Jagger playing baseball and basketball and soccer in the springtime and enjoy the things my daughter does and support my wife in what she's got going on (preparing to open a local CrossFit gym).
"Will I miss Saturdays, will I miss the coaching part? Yeah, absolutely, no doubt about it. But the reward of what I'll get personally from my family will outweigh that and I'll be happy that way."