October 01, 2010
In the early '80s, Gregg Hammann was a receiver for a powerful Iowa football program led by Hayden Fry. Now, after a business career that took Hammann across the globe, he's returned to Iowa to be a high school football coach at Dyersville Beckman High School, and one of his star pupils is his son, Derek. Just two games into the 2010 season, Derek pulled in one of the more elusive 25-yard touchdown receptions you'll see, and suddenly getting headlines became a family affair.
As you can see in the clip above, Derek Hammann set out to gain a few yards on a simple screen and ended up trotting into the end zone with a highlight-reel touchdown. By the time he scored, Hammann had eluded eight tacklers, with two others in pursuit but too far out of the play to make a difference.
To be fair, the Hammanns' Trailblazers did rout Center Point-Urbana 40-0 in the game, and at least two of those tacklers could have done a better job wrapping up the slippery wide receiver. Still, Hammann deserves credit for finding a way to reverse field in a heck of a lot of traffic, and then for having the afterburners to escape from a handful of other Stormin' Pointers chasing behind.
As for the elder Hammann, his path back to Iowa football is an interesting story in itself. A versatile wideout during his time with the Hawkeyes, Gregg Hammann put his football cleats behind him after graduating and embarked on a business career that eventually landed him the CEO job at fitness equipment maker Nautilus (not to mention top-level executive posts at Coca Cola and Levi Strauss). Throughout his younger career he always tried to serve as a football coach at some level, even helping build a Detroit program into a state playoff contender in the late 1980s when he worked at Proctor & Gamble.
When Hammann suddenly resigned from his post at Nautilus in 2007, he returned to Iowa to "retire" and focus on raising his family and coaching football. That retirement didn't last long -- he's was hired as CEO of fitness equipment company Power Plate in 2009, which is his current "day job" -- but he's found a way to remain in Iowa to coach the Trailblazers while trying to build up the fitness company's brand recognition.
We can't be sure, but something tells us that he's also a budding YouTube uploader. If you check out the owner of this video, you'll notice it is "GCHammann." It could be someone else, but it seems likely that GCHammann happens to be a football coach and fitness CEO in Iowa.
As for the Hammanns and Beckman, so far, so good. The Trailblazers went 4-6 but made the state playoffs in 2009 during the first season under the former Hawkeyes receiver. This year Beckman is already 3-2. Clearly, bringing Derek over from Bellevue (Iowa) High School, where he played in 2009, was a good move.