Hicks enters N.C. Soccer Coaches Association Field of Honor

Jun. 04, 2013 @ 10:02 PM

David Hicks had a hard time finding the right words to express his thanks when he learned he would be inducted into the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association Field of Honor. He didn’t even know he had been nominated.

Hicks, Northern Vance’s athletic director and former boys and girls soccer coach, didn’t think he was being honored for his win-loss record. He was joined in the Field of Honor, comparable to a hall of fame, by Charlotte Providence’s Bob Bowen, N.C. School of Science and Mathematics’ Henry Gallagher and Ben Forbes of Greenfield School in Wilson.

“I’ve known so many of these guys for years and coached against a lot of them, gotten beaten by most of them,” said Hicks. “One of the guys told me it showed an appreciation of what we’ve tried to do in our area for soccer. We’re not overloaded with soccer players in our area.”

The coaching quartet was honored Saturday at Western Guilford High School, marking the fourth Field of Honor class. The inaugural 11-member group was inducted in 2010.

The Field of Honor award honors high school coaches for their accomplishments and services to the sport on the local, state and national levels. Both on-the-field achievements and “selfless dedication to the betterment of the high school game” are the barometers for success.

Coaches must also have served the NCSCA for a minimum of 15 years to be eligible.

“Very shocked, very humbled, very pleased because it does give recognition to my former players too,” said Hicks.

Hicks got his start at Northern Vance in 1988 as a volunteer goalkeeper coach under Tommy Farmer before becoming an assistant coach and ultimately head coach of the boys and girls teams in 1995. His final season was with the Viking girls in the spring of 2011.

The goal was to establish a program, not just have a team. That spirit is evident in Northern’s annual boys and girls alumni matches. The girls played their 20th in the spring and the boys aren’t far behind.

“The biggest reward has been the relationships I’ve been able to keep with a lot of the players,” said Hicks. “If they’re in town, they’ll call me. If they see me in the yard, they’ll stop by.”

Northern soccer teams have also grown accustomed to garnering national academic recognition through the NCSCA by maintaining high grade point averages.

The accolades have been there for Hicks too. He led the N.C. team in the 2010 Clash of the Carolinas at historic Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston. S.C. in addition to coaching in the N.C. High School Athletic Association East-West All-Star Game in 2001. He has four NCSCA regional coach of the year honors to his credit as well as two conference coach of the year awards.

And the Northern boys team that won a district title in 1997 has been a source of great pride for Hicks.

Vance County hasn’t become a hotbed for soccer, but Hicks is proud of what he and the staffs he has been associated with have accomplished in their efforts to promote the game.

“I think the quality of play has been pretty good,” said Hicks. “It just hasn’t caught totally on fire like we hoped it would, but I think we’ve held our own.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.