Hammond to join USM Athletics Dept.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For 32 years, he's commanded soldiers in the Army. Now, Major General Jeff Hammond hopes to be a commanding force in Southern Miss athletics. In the fall, he'll join his alma mater as a senior associate director of athletics.

"It's one of the greatest honors I've ever had, to come back and serve and work for the betterment of a university community that we love so much," said Hammond, who met the media today at a campus news conference.  The 54-year-old former USM standout quarterback will focus on athletic development and fund-raising in his new position.

"We will make Jeff available to assist the university, (he) will be the liaison with the Alumni Association, with the Athletic Foundation and I think he'll play a major role and be a great asset to anybody connected with our institution," said Richard Giannini, director of athletics at Southern Miss.

Hammond graduated in 1978 and after being commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, he moved up the ranks, eventually commanding the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. Now, after a long career in the Army, Hammond and his wife Diane, also a USM graduate, are ready to return to the Hub City.

"There can be no greater honor than to return to your roots, to the beloved institution and community that you love so much, such as my wife and I do here at the University of Southern Mississippi," Hammond said.

Hammond will retire from the Army in September and will begin his work at Southern Miss in mid-October.

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