When I last wrote about my decision to leave coaching, I meant it. Through much prayer, reflection, and discussion, God’s will seemed clear that it was time to say goodbye to “Coach Hammond” and explore options outside of basketball.
From the point of that decision months ago until now has been quite the journey and much has transpired. I’ve searched far and wide for what my next calling would be. I’ve explored opportunities within the realm of education as well as into industries I’d never considered before. I’ve looked within the Greater Kansas City area as well as into states many miles from here (stretching as far as the east coast). And I’ve searched within what met my initial expectations as well as into opportunities exceeding what I dreamed possible.
As my search progressed, many other developments came about…
- I learned a lot about myself and gained greater understanding of my journey and why God led me to this point
- We’ve been blessed by my wife’s current position, which has progressed to levels we hadn’t expected while still allowing her to work primarily from home
- My parents were able to pay us a surprise visit, which was very helpful in providing some additional clarity and insight
- I was able to spend an unforeseen extended amount of time praying and worshipping before God, spending time with my family, and reflecting
- And lastly, a passion I thought I was called to walk away from circled back around in an unexpected fashion
All that being said, I’m excited to announce I’ve accepted a position with Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit, MO where I’ll be teaching Physical Education, serving as the Middle School Athletic Director, and coaching Varsity Boys Basketball.
Like I said before, though I thought it was clear God wanted me to walk away from coaching, it’s now become just as clear that I didn’t see the whole picture. Through this journey…
- God forced me to be willing to walk away from what was obviously an idol in my life. For so long, I’ve put “coaching basketball” at first priority devoting myself to it even at the expense of my relationships with God and my family. I had to confront this reality over these past several months and was able to get to a place where I didn’t find my identity in coaching basketball anymore. This is a liberating feeling.
- God allowed me to explore other opportunities I never would’ve considered otherwise and learn about the journeys of others. It was so interesting to meet so many passionate people working in so many different places and pursuits. I learned about different school districts in Missouri as well as different states, I learned about different industries–some of which I never dreamed of considering, and I got to learn from different professionals and their journeys that look a lot different than mine. None of this would’ve happened if I wasn’t willing to leave coaching.
- I learned that though there are many great pursuits out there, God called me to coach basketball for a reason and He wasn’t completely done with “Coach Hammond” yet. There were multiple times I felt I had narrowed in on a position outside of coaching, only to have God close the door in an unexpected way. In perhaps the most surprising way, God brought this Summit Christian opportunity to my attention and was able to make it abundantly clear this was the path He wanted for my family.
There are many great aspects of Summit Christian I’m excited about…
- The chance to share my Christian faith openly with my students through my passions for fitness, wellness, and basketball is truly a unique ministry opportunity that seems tailor-made for who I am. This job will not only allow me to mentor young men but also openly disciple them to grow in their Christian faith. Perhaps just as important, it’ll also be a blessing unto myself and force me to grow spiritually in a powerful way.
- From everything I’ve learned both through my conversations with the quality people at SCA as well as my own research, the school district seems to be an awesome, Christ-centered place that should be a great fit for my family.
- The opportunity is located in a great location in Lee’s Summit, MO. Lee’s Summit is home to my in-laws, my two best friends, and is close enough to where we live now that we don’t have to move unless we feel so called. Additionally, the location is convenient in relation to my wife’s current job, which again seems to be blossoming as of late.
- Lastly and most importantly, God has made the decision an obvious one to make. It’s clearly His will we take this next step, and I (along with my entire family) are taking the step confidently in faith and are excited to see what God brings in this next chapter of our lives.
I’ll never forget the spring of 2020. I doubt there will ever be any season quite like it. Much like the rest of the country, I never dreamed this terrible pandemic would’ve ever happened. Uniquely to me, I also never dreamed I’d be willing to walk away and say goodbye to coaching only to have God circle it back around and say “not so fast.”
I’m extremely excited to become a Summit Christian Eagle like my wife (SCA is her alma mater); I’m extremely grateful to not have to walk away from my love of coaching; and I’m extremely blessed to have another chance to pursue my earthly passion while keeping what matters most (my faith and my family) in the right perspective.
Perhaps the two greatest developments in all this…
1. I can finally relinquish control. In the past, I’ve always preached to my teams to “control the controllables.” Though this clever saying remains true, it only addresses the issue halfway. The other side is “and have faith through the uncontrollables.” In the past, I’ve always subconsciously believed I could achieve success through my own knowledge, work ethic, and sheer will. Though these pursuits can certainly be noble, they don’t ultimately determine success. Success is only defined by what you do on behalf of God and His kingdom and any success you might personally desire (i.e. winning) ultimately lies in His hands. Therefore, yes continue to pursue knowledge, work extremely hard, and do all you can to “succeed.” But God doesn’t want you to become prideful in your knowledge, work yourself into the ground, or trust in your own power. In the end, you have to be willing to trust in Him and not only be willing to live with the outcome, but be thankful for it–no matter how good or bad it might look from your earthly perspective.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”–Proverbs 3: 5-6
2. I no longer have to live in fear. In the past, the fear of having to leave coaching has always been a motivating factor for me. Coaching has been such an idol that I never wanted to even consider giving it up. As a result of this journey, the fear of having to leave coaching no longer exists because I know I can not only survive but thrive without it. Again, this is a liberating feeling that will allow me to coach more confidently, more genuinely, and most importantly, more faithfully.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and discipline.”–2 Timothy 1:7
I want to thank Summit Christian for the opportunity and trust they have granted me; my wife Alyssa for her love, patience, and support; my daughter Emery for her ability to make me smile no matter the circumstance; my family for their unrelenting guidance and direction; and most importantly my Lord Jesus Christ for forcing me to confront some ugly truths in my life, allowing me to grow in my faith, and making clear the next adventure for our family.
Now, it’s time to continue to pray, step out in faith, and go to work!