Weber State football: Offensive coordinator Matt Hammer leaves WSU, steps away from football
Weber State football will search for a new offensive coordinator ahead of the 2022 season.
Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Hammer has left the WSU coaching staff and is stepping away from football altogether. It’s a move he describes as necessary for his family and takes him away from the sport after spending the last 16 years as a coach.
“I’m excited for an opportunity to do something else and have a little bit more normalcy, and hopefully that creates the environment that is better for our family,” Hammer told the Standard-Examiner on Friday. “I coached in over 175 football games and wouldn’t trade any of those days for anything. Loved every second of it.”
His wife, Sheena, runs a local gym and, between that and the time demands of coaching and recruiting, they came to a crossroads.
“We just had to make a decision to support our kids the right way and be better parents,” Hammer said. He’s taken a job as a project manager for a local construction company.
Hammer was hired to his second stint on WSU’s coaching staff in 2019 to coach linebackers. He was selected by Jay Hill to be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2020, a position he held in his first stint at WSU, when Dave Schramm left to coach running backs at Utah State.
Entering his ninth season as head coach, Hammer’s departure will have Hill hiring his fifth offensive coordinator, with Steve Clark, Fesi Sitake, Schramm and Hammer each holding the position for two seasons.
Hammer previously coached at WSU from 2007-12 before leaving to become head coach at Weber High School from 2013-18, where he led a resurgence for the Warriors football program that became a team to beat in Region 1. WHS immediately broke a 20-plus game losing skid in his first season and won region titles in 2017 and 2018.
In Hammer’s first season back in the play-calling seat, the spring 2021 season, Weber State’s offense took a big jump in production by yards — 415 yards per game, up from 340 in 2019 — but scoring remained the same at 27 points per game with red-zone issues plaguing the production of points.
The fall 2021 season was less prolific at 365 yards per game and WSU’s offense struggled against good teams, but the team averaged 31 points per game helped by the final two wins: a 62-0 pasting of Southern Utah, and a 48-17 defeat of Northern Colorado that saw WSU’s defense return three interceptions for touchdowns.
“We took strides going in the right direction … it’s right on that cusp of being really, really good,” Hammer said. “Obviously the hard part that went on, and it’s a lot on me, is we ended up playing four quarterbacks throughout the year because of injury. Keep that guy healthy, there’s all the tools in place to be very successful.
“I really believe they have a good football team still, and I’m excited to sit in the stands and watch them play in the fall.”
Hammer expressed thanks to all his former players and coaches between the two schools and gave Hill his endorsement as he moves on.
“(Hill) is very special in a profession that can get so crooked and sideways at times. He just gets it,” Hammer said. “It turned out to be an easy conversation with him when I was dreading it because I didn’t want to let him down. He gets it, and it’s like that with everything Weber State does.”
Weber State is looking to rebound from a 6-5 season in which it missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Whoever takes over as offensive coordinator will do so with third-season sophomore quarterback Bronson Barron, along with junior Kylan Weisser and sophomore Creyton Cooper.
WSU also returns a bevy of running back talent in Josh Davis, Dontae McMillan, Kris Jackson and Damon Bankston. Ty MacPherson leads the returning receivers, a group that will be without speedster Rashid Shaheed for the first time since 2016.
Next up for the Wildcats is the regular signing day on Feb. 2 heading into spring camp.
WSU’s bounce-back attempt faces a stiff challenge, as the 2022 season opens Sept. 3 at James Madison, who is forgoing FCS playoff eligibility to recruit at the FBS scholarship limit ahead of joining the Sun Belt in 2023. WSU then plays at Utah State on Sept. 10, effectively giving Weber two FBS opponents to open the season.