David Hicks begins his second year as Director of Athletics, and looks to build on a season in which the Tornado experienced tremendous success on the field and in the classroom.
In their first year as members of Conference Carolinas, King finished third in the Hawn Cup Standings, the conference’s all-sports trophy, winning the regular season conference championship in men’s basketball and the post-season tournament championship in softball. Both programs qualified for the NCAA Championships in King’s second full year of NCAA Division II membership.
In addition, the Tornado posted 10 individual conference champions, a team runner-up finish in men’s cross country, 23 All-Conference Carolinas student-athletes, 16 conference players of the week/month, three Players of the Year, a Freshman of the Year, and Coach of the Year.
On top of that success, the women’s wrestling team finished as the national runner-up at the WCWA National Championships, which King also hosted. The women’s team posted two WCWA national champions, two runners-up and 13 All-Americans. On the men’s side, King achieved a No. 15 national ranking, qualified four wrestlers for the NCAA Championships and had two NCAA All-Americans. In early May, the cycling team achieved national prominence with a fifth place finish at the USA Cycling National Championships in Ogden, Utah.
Hicks’ first year also saw tremendous success for the Tornado off the courts and fields. For both the fall and spring semesters, King led all of Conference Carolinas in the number of student athletes named to the Presidential Honor Roll and had 77 student-athletes named to Academic All-Conference teams. Out of 16 conference sports sponsored, five Tornado student-athletes were named Academic Athlete of the Year for their respective sport, and the women’s basketball team earned the second-best team GPA of all NCAA Division II basketball teams. Additionally, over 100 student-athletes participating in the Storm Chaser mentoring program in Bristol City Schools.
The 2011-12 year resulted in progress for the Tornado on other fronts as well. The month of April saw the induction of the first Athletic Hall of Fame class since 2008, which included Larry Sharrett, Susie Toomey, and the 1987 NCCAA National Champion baseball team. The Tornado Athletic Club, the fundraising arm of the athletic department, was established and began building on a solid base of supporters, and a series of alumni/athletic lunches was initiated to foster continued relationships with local alumni.
King launched a new website, offered live stats and live video feeds online for most home contests, and expanded the media coverage and services offered in other areas. In the fall, Twister the Lion exploded on the scene as the new mascot of the Tornado and rallied Tornado fans at various sporting events and other college functions throughout the year.
Prior to arriving at King in June 2011, Hicks spent 13 years at Rhodes College as Assistant Athletic Director, and the last six years as Head Softball Coach. As a coach, Hicks had a winning track record having become Rhodes' all-time leader in softball wins in 2009 and earning career win number 100 in 2011. His teams averaged 27 wins per year over his last three years, making the SCAC Championship game in 2009. In his last four seasons alone, 37 players were named to the All-SCAC team, including one SCAC Pitcher of the Year and he coached nine All-Atlantic Region players. His teams maintained a 3.4 team GPA during his tenure with 32 players making the SCAC Academic Honor Roll and 19 players earning NFCA Scholar-Athlete awards.
Hicks earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1995, where he was a four-year starter on the baseball team. He earned his Master of Arts in Sport Management from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in 1996. Prior to his time at Rhodes College, Hicks worked in the athletic ticketing and marketing offices at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
He and his wife Cindy reside in Bristol (TN) with their four boys, Alex (13), Daniel (10), Stephen (8), and Luke (5).