By Chad Courrier
---- — JANESVILLE — The pain in his groin area was so great that Ted Hammond couldn't enjoy being on the sidelines.
So after the 2010-11 season, he stepped down as the boys basketball coach at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton so that he could focus on his health. Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he didn't have the time to coach.
"The pain was so severe that I couldn't stand being on the sideline," Hammond said. "After several surgeries, somebody said I should have my hip checked. I did, and had it replaced, and now I feel great."
Hammond, 64, has been hired to coach the JWP boys basketball team again, returning to the post he held for 10 seasons, the last seven as varsity coach. He took the Bulldogs to the state tournament in 2008.
Since Hammond last coached at JWP, Darren Tighe and Paul Ciochetti each held that position for one season. The Bulldogs went 20-11 in that state-tournament season but are 45-85 in the five seasons since then.
"I told them this isn't a one-year thing," Hammond said. "I'm young enough, and I still have the enthusiasm to do this until I'm 70. I missed it."
Hammond said the results of his hip replacement were amazing, though he found out a short time after the surgery that his replacement had been recalled. He had another hip-replacement surgery last month and still uses a cane so that he doesn't develop a permanent limp.
Since he left coaching at JWP, he's retired as a teacher in the Waseca school system. He coached ninth-grade football and varsity golf the last two seasons. He also attended the Waseca basketball games last season, further fueling his interest in returning to the sidelines.
"I got the itch again," he said. "And now that I'm retired, it works out even better. I don't have to get up early then next morning after games and go to school and do lesson plans. I'll have more time for scouting, too."
Hammond has attended a couple of the JWP summer-league games in the last few weeks, and he knows some of the kids from his days coaching youth teams and holding a basketball camps at Janesville. Sawyer Gahler, now a senior, was a team manager as a youngster and played on the Bulldogs varsity in Hammond's last season.
"It's nice to have him back," Gahler said. "This is my fourth year (on varsity), and I had a different coach every season so it's good to have someone I know."
Gahler said that Hammond is a players' coach, willing to allow some freedoms to match individual skills.
"He's a good coach," Gahler said. "I've always liked him."Hammond said he's already having a lot of fun with basketball, and the game hasn't changed that much in the last two years. He likes what he sees from his players, so far.
"There's some talent here," he said. "The other night, I just drew up a couple inbounds plays, and we talked about defense. I really missed the kids, and it's fun to coach when you're pain-free."