Since being named King’s Director of Athletics in June 2011, David Hicks has guided the Tornado through a period of tremendous success in both competition and the classroom.
For the 2016-17 academic year, a total of 464 Tornado student-athletes were named to the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll for the fall and spring semesters combined. A total of 235 student-athletes ended the year with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, with 133 of those earning a 3.5 or higher. Of the 24 Tornado varsity teams, 21 finished the year with a 3.0 or higher cumulative team GPA.
In addition, three student-athletes were named Conference Carolinas Scholar Athletes of the Year for their respective sport, and the Tornado had 59 student-athletes named to Conference Carolinas All-Academic teams. The Division II Athletic Directors’ Association awarded 59 King student-athletes with their Academic Achievement Award, for juniors and seniors achieving a 3.5 GPA or higher. King also had three CoSIDA Academic All-District and one Academic All-American in 2016-17.
On the fields and courts, the Tornado were equally successful during the 2016-17 year. Senior Tanner Cook qualified for the NCAA Championships in Cross Country, while Vincent Okot qualified in both indoor and outdoor track and field.
The women’s basketball team claimed both their first postseason Conference Carolinas Championship, earning the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth. Men’s volleyball finished with a program-best 28 wins, including a 16-2 record in Conference Carolinas, finishing as co-champions for their first league title. Women’s golf added their first Conference Carolinas championship to raise King’s conference championship tally to three for the year and 16 in the last six years.
The Tornado boasted three Conference Carolinas Players of the Year and 47 all-conference student-athletes.
The Tornado baseball team won the Conference Carolinas Messick Award for Sportsmanship for the fourth time in the past six years, giving King a total of 17 Messick’s in the last six years.
For the sixth straight year, King finished in the top four in the Hawn Cup Standings, Conference Carolinas all sports trophy, and captured its fifth consecutive Blue Ridge Cup, the all sports competition with rival Lees-McRae.
The King women’s wrestling team claimed their fourth consecutive national titles at both the NWCA National Duals and WCWA National Championships, boasting three individual national champions, three runners-up and nine WCWA All-Americans. In addition, junior Haley Augello represented the United States at the Rio Olympics, becoming King’s first student-athlete to represent the United States in Olympic competition.
Men’s wrestling had a pair of All-Americans, Dustin Kirk and Bryce Killian, with Kirk’s third place finish at the NCAA Championships the highest of any King wrestler in the NCAA era.
In addition to leading the Tornado athletic program, Hicks has remained active on the regional and national level in college sports. He currently serves as the chair of the Conference Carolinas Athletic Director’s Council and is a member of the Executive Committee. In 2017-18, he will begin his fourth year as a member of the NCAA Softball Rules Committee, and serves on both the Division II Athletic Directors’ Association (D2ADA) Board of Directors and D2ADA Regulatory Advisory Group, which works closely with the NCAA Legislative Committee on potential new legislation. In 2017-18, he will serve his third year on the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Advisory Committee for women’s basketball, and from 2012-2014, he served on the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Advisory Committee for softball.
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 seasons, 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 celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in 2017, and are active members of Central Christian Church, where he serves as a Deacon. They reside in Bristol with their four boys, Alex, age 18, Daniel, age 15, Stephen, age 13, and Luke, age 10.