WDAM Viewpoint- Southern Miss A.D. contract not renewed - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

WDAM Viewpoint- Southern Miss A.D. contract not renewed

Newly installed Southern Miss President Dr. Rodney Bennett announced this morning that Athletic Director Jeff Hammond's contract would not be renewed at the end of this month.

Hammond is a retired two-star army general who distinguished himself in our war with Iraq.  He is also a former quarterback for the Golden Eagles who was known for his physical style of play.  However, his tenure as athletic director after replacing Richard Gianinni was marked with controversy.  His management style was most often cited as the reason.  Personally, I have no first hand knowledge of his management techniques, and decisions can always be argued.  I will say that the one conversation I had with General Hammond left me impressed with the man.  But the fans were divided over his leadership—and right or wrong, division is something no university can afford these days. 

The whole scenario is unfortunate for all concerned.  College football is a big money game these days and if you look hard enough that is the basis of most decisions. No one is necessarily to blame for this state of affairs…but anything that potentially threatens the bottom line is serious business. In the relatively short time he held the position, it is hard to say what kind of A.D. Hammond would have been in the long run. A great leader in one venue…may not fit as well in another.  Regardless we believe Jeff Hammond is a good man, an outstanding patriot, and a true blue golden eagle.  It is too bad it didn't work out. Something's just weren't meant to fit and we have know doubt Jeff Hammond will find success in the near future in whatever he does. We also commend the grace and dignity with which Dr. Bennet handled this situation.  We have no doubt he will be an outstanding president for the university.  Now it is time for the factions to come together…heal whatever hard feelings were caused…and act for the best of USM. Put aside all differences and let's take Southern to the top. 

I'm Jim Cameron.  Let us hear from you.

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