Hickson is no stranger to Yellow Jackets basketball or a head coaching position. He played on Union High School’s junior varsity basketball team as a sophomoare and continued being a fixture in the Union County gymnasium by serving as a scorekeeper and assistant to UCHS’ longtime head coach Joe Pitt.
Hickson says the experience as Union County’s head coach has been more than a thrill since taking over.
“The excitement of getting started has been great as we hit the ground running,” Hickson said.
Not only did he serve the Yellow Jackets over the past two decades but he took over as Jonesville High School’s head basketball coach during the 2003-04 season. During Hickson’s four years as head coach at Jonesville the Wildcats made three playoff appearances and also won a region championship in 2004-05 — the Wildcats first since 1982.
Then after high school consolidation in 2007 Hickson returned to Union County High School and served again as Pitt’s assistant. And when Pitt announced his retirement this year it was a no brainer that someone with Hickson’s familiarity with the program and track record at JHS would be chosen for the boys basketball head coaching vacancy.
While assisting Pitt, Hickson recognized and took away many things from him but two attributes stood out more than any others.
“(Pitt’s) preparedness and hard work,” Hickson said.
And that’s exactly what Hickson plans to continue with the program. Union County fans will not see Pitt and his infamous towel draped over his shoulder but they can expect to see another passionate representative for UCHS.
“I work hard and my passion for players and school will be obvious,” Hickson said.
Growing up, Hickson — a Union native — admired Bob Knight’s coaching but it was not Knight’s fiery attitude that caught his attention.
“I liked Bob Knight not for his temper but for how passionate he was...how much his kids loved him,” Hickson said.
Knight’s influence lives today in Hickson as senior Joe Beatty confirms Hickson’s intensity and passion.
“Practice is different because of the intensity and we plan to filtrate that to the games,” Beatty said. “The way he coaches we can go far, when he talks you feel like he knows what he’s talking about. He’s just a cool guy that keeps his players relaxed and having fun.”
Hickson, Beatty and the Yellow Jackets are picked as preseason No. 1 in Region III-3A, an accomplishment Hickson credits to his players’ “willingness to work as hard as they do.”
Hickson and his wife, Robyn, have two children Carson, 9, and Libby, 3, and reside in Union. He teaches math at Union County Achievement Academy.
Along with the support of his family, Hickson wanted to extend his appreciation to superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall, UCHS athletic director Mike Massey and UCHS principal Joe Walker.
Editor's note...In his Hickson's first game as head coach the Yellow Jackets won a 73-70 overtime thriller vs. Seneca on Monday.
Inside scoop on Hickson
Favorite thing to do with family: “Go swimming”
Best basketball team ever: “UCLA teams”
Mountain or beach: “Beach”
Favorite thing to watch on TV: “ESPN”
Favorite movie of all-time: “Few Good Men”
Favorite sports movie: “Rudy”
Favorite soda: “Sprite”
Superstitions: “Same pre-game food, and that depends on time of year”
Colleges attended: “USC-Union and Limestone”
Love for basketball started where: “Rosewood Terrace”