Thunderbirds Announce New Head Coach

Pat Hammonds celebrates with fans following a victory over the Detroit Mechanix on 4/23/16


November 13th, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA – Pat Hammonds has been named head coach of the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, team management announced today. Hammonds becomes the second head coach in Thunderbird history following a successful three year tenure from head coach David Hogan.


Hammonds, who teaches social studies at Braddock Hills Middle School in Pittsburgh, was also a Thunderbird player in 2016 and 17. Hammonds played 365 points over his two years as a Bird, recording 22 goals, 29 assists, 10 blocks and a 90% completion percentage on 236 throws. An injury in the first round of the divisional play-off game however would end Hammonds’ 2017 season.


“I required reconstructive shoulder surgery after a fall in our opening playoff game in Minnesota,” Hammonds recounted, “but I’m excited to return to the team in a new capacity.”


Part of what made the transition difficult for Hammonds was the prospect of hanging up the cleats. However, Hammonds by no means has played his last point of ultimate, with plans to continue his playing career on the club circuit after his shoulder is fully rehabbed. “You hate to see an injury like that, especially to a guy like Pat who works his butt off,” said General Manager Andrew Gardner, “but it’s probably not the last you’ll see of Pat the player.”


As a player, Hammonds played from 2005-2009 for the University of Pittsburgh’s Men’s team, En Sabah Nur, a team coached by current assistant Thunderbirds head coach David “Weasel” Lionetti. During his time in college, Hammonds went to Nationals in all four years.


From 2005-2015, he also played on the men’s open club circuit with Oakland (Pittsburgh) and Pittsburgh Temper, reaching Nationals in 2011 with Oakland and 2015 with Temper. Such achievements can bring lofty goals for a Pittsburgh area team, which Hammonds is well aware of.


“Great success breeds high expectations, and the bar in Pittsburgh has been set very high,” said Hammonds. “My hope is that this year the team can take that next step and capture a Midwest Division title for the first time.”


David Hogan, who is moving cross-country to Seattle, helped to lay some of that foundation.


“There’s no doubt we’re going to miss coach Hogan in 2018,” continued Hammonds. “He did so many great things for the program over his three years, but now it’s up to the rest of us to pick up where he left off. I’ve spent my entire ultimate career surrounded by the guys who make this team so special, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to suit up as coach this season.”


Aside from teaching kids as a full-time job, Hammonds also boasts an extensive coaching resume, having coached at Andrew Street High School, Braddock Hills, Pittsburgh Impulse, and Camp Spirit of the Game. Adding it all up, Hammonds has had 8 years of coaching experience, without mentioning his time as a basketball coach at ASHS and Braddock Hills.


In 2011, Hammonds coached many current and former Thunderbird players such as Sam van Dusen, Max Sheppard, Scott Trimble, Mark Fedorenko and Pat Earles on Pittsburgh Impulse, taking them to a silver medal at the Youth Club Championships.


“Everyone respects Pat,” says Gardner. “You can’t find anyone who has something negative to say about him. When Pat talks, people listen. I have full confidence that this coaching change will be a very smooth transition because of Pat’s leadership.”


Outside of ultimate, Hammonds enjoys reading, playing other sports (mainly basketball and softball), hiking, and spending time with his wife, Kelly.

More on the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds is a professional Ultimate Frisbee (Disc) franchise in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The team will play 7 home games at Cupples Stadium in the South Side of Pittsburgh in 2018. The team is part of the Midwestern Division and plays against the Indianapolis AlleyCats, Madison Radicals, Minnesota Wind Chill, Chicago Wildfire, and the Detroit Mechanix. The AUDL’s 14-game season commences in April and ends with the AUDL Championship in late August.


Pat Hammonds signs his head coaching contract at a Primanti Brothers