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Couldn’t have been done any better

Hats off to Pulaski County High School for a fitting tribute to former head football coach Joel Hicks in naming the Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium playing field after him.
It was an extremely classy presentation Friday evening, and one that I and my fellow Touchdown Club members were proud to be a part of, and contribute to.  
It was obviously a moving experience for Hicks and his lovely wife Melinda who were accompanied by their daughter Amy, friends from Richwood, West Virginia, and hundreds of former players and coaches. 
I’m happy to say that I made the entire 24-year journey with Hicks. He came to Pulaski County in 1979 and leaves behind a tremendous legacy of success. There were great moments of laughter and accomplishment, heart wrenching moments that brought tears and frustration, but all provide terrific memories I will carry with me forever. Everything about the 24 years was a learning experience, lessons to use in life you might say.
Hicks taught Pulaski County how to compete. It’s that simple. Work very hard, do things right, look sharp, execute, focus, play physical, do not jump off sides, do not fumble, be disciplined, and win, and win, and win.
I could write for hours about the process that eventually got Hicks to leave Morgantown, West Virginia and WVU and come to Pulaski County. If I’ve ever been involved in any objective that proved to be great for the people of Pulaski County, then helping to get Hicks is it.
Then Superintendent of Schools Kenneth J. Dobson told me one day, “I don’t want the best coach that applies for the head football position. I want the best coach we can get, and we’ll go after him if necessary.’’
I knew where Hicks was, I knew he wasn’t terribly happy with his present situation, but I also knew he was coaching at his alma mater, something he always wanted to do. It all started when WVU came to play on a Saturday afternoon at Virginia Tech. It wasn’t a very good game, neither team was very impressive, and I found a frustrated Hicks sitting in the floor at the end of a long hallway in Cassell Coliseum.
We started talking then. I finally was able to arrange a meeting with Hicks and Dobson. They were both very impressed with the other.
If you were at the game Friday night you’ve heard this before, but just in case you would like to read it, or if you weren’t able to attend, this is a short summary of how it started, and how Pulaski County was able to find glory on the gridiron. 
———
It’s a pleasure for me to be involved in honoring the finest football coach I’ve ever known. I would also like to give a special welcome to all the former players and coaches who came to honor Joel Lee Hicks tonight. And a thank you to former Northside coach Jimmy Hickam and Salem coach Willis White for attending and, man, didn’t Hicks, Hickam and White wage some battles on the gridiron.
It happened on an early December evening in Morgantown, W.Va. in 1978. I made a visit to the Hicks’ home on Cottonwood Drive to deliver a package for then Superintendent of Schools Kenneth J. Dobson, and how great it would be if he were here tonight.
Joel opened the envelope, read the document and passed it to his lovely wife, Melinda. He said, “what should I do?” She said, “sign it,” and like any good husband, he did what his wife told him to do. In that instant, West Virginia lost a great coach, and Pulaski County got one.
In early March of 1979, Hicks met the Pulaski County community for the first time. During a question and answer session, Hicks was asked if he thought Pulaski County could contend for district titles and go to the playoffs? The football program had never done those things before.
Hicks responded by saying only that he was coming to Pulaski County to win football games, and that if he managed to win enough, then all the district titles and playoffs would take care of themselves. Well, we won … and won … and won.
Joel Hicks coached at Pulaski County for 24 years. He won 201 football games and 301 victories in his career. That’s an average of almost eight and a half wins a season. Yes sir, he came to Pulaski County to win football games, and that’s exactly what he did.
And that playoff and district title stuff? How about 17 playoff appearances, 23 total playoff victories, 15 district championships, 6 region championships, and in 1992 he won the Group AAA, Division 6 State Championship.
The week before the state title game in 1992, I wrote a column for The Southwest Times. I said that Joel Hicks had always prepared his teams to play like champions, to represent their school and community like champions, and to look and act like champions. And if he got that state championship in Richmond that Saturday, it would be for one reason and one reason only … he deserved it.
Tonight we honor my great friend by naming the playing surface in Dobson Stadium after him. We do this for one reason, and one reason only … because he deserves it.

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Couldn’t have been done any better

Hats off to Pulaski County High School for a fitting tribute to former head football coach Joel Hicks in naming the Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium playing field after him.
It was an extremely classy presentation Friday evening, and one that I and my fellow Touchdown Club members were proud to be a part of, and contribute to.  
It was obviously a moving experience for Hicks and his lovely wife Melinda who were accompanied by their daughter Amy, friends from Richwood, West Virginia, and hundreds of former players and coaches. 
I’m happy to say that I made the entire 24-year journey with Hicks. He came to Pulaski County in 1979 and leaves behind a tremendous legacy of success. There were great moments of laughter and accomplishment, heart wrenching moments that brought tears and frustration, but all provide terrific memories I will carry with me forever. Everything about the 24 years was a learning experience, lessons to use in life you might say.
Hicks taught Pulaski County how to compete. It’s that simple. Work very hard, do things right, look sharp, execute, focus, play physical, do not jump off sides, do not fumble, be disciplined, and win, and win, and win.
I could write for hours about the process that eventually got Hicks to leave Morgantown, West Virginia and WVU and come to Pulaski County. If I’ve ever been involved in any objective that proved to be great for the people of Pulaski County, then helping to get Hicks is it.
Then Superintendent of Schools Kenneth J. Dobson told me one day, “I don’t want the best coach that applies for the head football position. I want the best coach we can get, and we’ll go after him if necessary.’’
I knew where Hicks was, I knew he wasn’t terribly happy with his present situation, but I also knew he was coaching at his alma mater, something he always wanted to do. It all started when WVU came to play on a Saturday afternoon at Virginia Tech. It wasn’t a very good game, neither team was very impressive, and I found a frustrated Hicks sitting in the floor at the end of a long hallway in Cassell Coliseum.
We started talking then. I finally was able to arrange a meeting with Hicks and Dobson. They were both very impressed with the other.
If you were at the game Friday night you’ve heard this before, but just in case you would like to read it, or if you weren’t able to attend, this is a short summary of how it started, and how Pulaski County was able to find glory on the gridiron. 
———
It’s a pleasure for me to be involved in honoring the finest football coach I’ve ever known. I would also like to give a special welcome to all the former players and coaches who came to honor Joel Lee Hicks tonight. And a thank you to former Northside coach Jimmy Hickam and Salem coach Willis White for attending and, man, didn’t Hicks, Hickam and White wage some battles on the gridiron.
It happened on an early December evening in Morgantown, W.Va. in 1978. I made a visit to the Hicks’ home on Cottonwood Drive to deliver a package for then Superintendent of Schools Kenneth J. Dobson, and how great it would be if he were here tonight.
Joel opened the envelope, read the document and passed it to his lovely wife, Melinda. He said, “what should I do?” She said, “sign it,” and like any good husband, he did what his wife told him to do. In that instant, West Virginia lost a great coach, and Pulaski County got one.
In early March of 1979, Hicks met the Pulaski County community for the first time. During a question and answer session, Hicks was asked if he thought Pulaski County could contend for district titles and go to the playoffs? The football program had never done those things before.
Hicks responded by saying only that he was coming to Pulaski County to win football games, and that if he managed to win enough, then all the district titles and playoffs would take care of themselves. Well, we won … and won … and won.
Joel Hicks coached at Pulaski County for 24 years. He won 201 football games and 301 victories in his career. That’s an average of almost eight and a half wins a season. Yes sir, he came to Pulaski County to win football games, and that’s exactly what he did.
And that playoff and district title stuff? How about 17 playoff appearances, 23 total playoff victories, 15 district championships, 6 region championships, and in 1992 he won the Group AAA, Division 6 State Championship.
The week before the state title game in 1992, I wrote a column for The Southwest Times. I said that Joel Hicks had always prepared his teams to play like champions, to represent their school and community like champions, and to look and act like champions. And if he got that state championship in Richmond that Saturday, it would be for one reason and one reason only … he deserved it.
Tonight we honor my great friend by naming the playing surface in Dobson Stadium after him. We do this for one reason, and one reason only … because he deserves it.

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