Hammer Named CSU-Pueblo Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Colorado State University-Pueblo Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Paul Plinske announced Tuesday the hiring of Matt Hammer as the next CSU-Pueblo Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Hammer is the seventh head coach in program history and will begin his duties immediately.

“I would like to welcome Mallery and Matt Hammer and their family to CSU-Pueblo,” Plinske said. “It was evident from the start that they are the perfect fit for CSU-Pueblo.”

“Matt battled against an amazing group of finalists to surface as our leading candidate. He is a proven winner, not only as a player, but as a coach. He has learned from a legend in Don Meyer, former men’s basketball coach at Northern State. Matt is highly intelligent and understands the game as well as anyone. His experiences in NCAA Division II will aid him greatly. He’s been a workhorse recruiter in our region and knows how to build a championship-caliber program.”

“It’s hard to express how excited I am to be the next head coach of the men’s basketball program here at Colorado State University-Pueblo,” Hammer said. “It’s been a dream of mine for quite some time to be able to lead a NCAA Division II program. My family and I are extremely grateful to President Mottet and Dr. Paul Plinske for this opportunity. A couple minutes into the first conversation I had with Paul regarding CSU-Pueblo, it was clear to me how passionate and committed he is to making this a special place. I’m honored to be your head coach.”

Hammer comes to the Pack after five seasons as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Sheridan College where he collected an overall record of 118-43 (.733).

The Generals had their best season under Hammer in 2018-19 with a 31-4 overall record and a trip to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament as an at-large selection. Sheridan closed the season with a 14-2 mark in conference play for the team’s second straight Region IX North Championship. Sheridan earned the right to host the Region IX Championship Tournament and lost in the title game to Casper College. The Generals were ranked No. 11 nationally at the end of the regular season and held a ranking as high as fifth.

Hammer’s teams like to score the basketball. Last season Sheridan finished 10th in scoring in NJCAA Division I with 94.6 points per game. The Generals closed the season 16th nationally in 3-pointers made after going 322-for-897 (35.9).

Named the Region IX Coach of the Year in both 2018 and 2019, Hammer celebrated eight all-region performers and helped place 25 players at four-year schools.

“I am confident that we hired an elite coach who will bring an instant standard of excellence to CSU-Pueblo,” Plinske said. “I could not be more excited for our student-athletes, fans and alumni who will watch this program grow into a powerhouse under Coach Hammer’s leadership.”

The Generals finished the 2017-18 season with a 28-5 record, which included a 15-0 record at home and a final NJCAA national ranking of No. 16. Following a 23-9 season in 2016-17, the Generals offense (87.0 PPG) finished as the second highest scoring team in Region IX North play, while their defense also finished second, only giving up 59.0 points per game.

Prior to Sheridan, Hammer was an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Saginaw Valley State University from 2012-14. During his time at SVSU he recruited two GLIAC Freshman Player of the Year award winners and a total of five All-GLIAC performers. He helped put together the 2013 recruiting class, which finished their careers with a record of 72-45 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite 8. His duties included, but weren’t limited to junior college recruiting director, defensive coordinator, SVSU Basketball Camp Head Clinician.

Before SVSU, Hammer was a graduate assistant for two seasons at his alma mater of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota under coaching legend Don Meyer. Coach Meyer retired from coaching in 2010 as the all-time wins leader in college basketball history, finishing with a record of 923-324. At the ESPY Awards in 2009, Coach Meyer was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Hammer worked with perimeter players and was the travel coordinator.

Hammer played for Coach Meyer at Northern State and while at NSU, he was a member of four consecutive 20-win teams. He helped guide the Wolves to the 2002 regular season Northern Sun Intercollegiate Championship, and two NSIC Tournament Championships (2004 and 2005). In 2005 as a junior, Hammer became the second ever member of the NSIC to be named the regular season player of the year and NSIC Tournament MVP in the same season. He was a two-time selection to the Daktronics Division II North Central All-Region Team, as well as a three-time All-NSIC selection. Following his senior season, he was selected to play in the inaugural NCAA Division II All-Star Game that was played in Springfield, Massachusetts inside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He left Northern State ranked 13th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,686 points.

Hammer was named Mr. Basketball in 2002 while at Elkton High School in South Dakota.

Matt received his bachelor of science in health and physical education from Northern State in 2007, while also completing his master’s in health, physical education and coaching at NSU in 2010.

Matt is married to Mallery Hammer, the Sheridan College women’s soccer head coach. He has a son, Max, and four step-children, Michal Tate, Meadow, Abe and Eli.