Since being named King University’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 2015-16 academic year, a total of 398 Tornado student-athletes were named to the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll for the fall and spring semesters combined. A total of 212 student-athletes ended the year with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, with 115 of those earning a 3.5 or higher. Of the 25 Tornado varsity teams, 19 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 sports, 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 eight CoSIDA Academic All-District and two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2015-16.
On the fields and courts, the Tornado were equally successful during the 2015-16 year. The women’s soccer team hosted the first Conference Carolinas tournament game in school history, and women’s volleyball team won the Conference Carolinas North Division for the third consecutive year with either a conference or division championship. In addition, men’s cross country and women’s basketball each finished as Conference Carolinas runners-up.
The men’s basketball team claimed both the Conference Carolinas regular and tournament championships, their second regular season title and first tournament championship. The tournament championship earned the Tornado their second NCAA Tournament berth in just five years as an NCAA Division II member. In all, the Tornado have won 13 Conference Carolinas championships in the past five years.
The Tornado boasted four Conference Carolinas Players of the Year and 47 all-conference student-athletes.
Two Tornado teams won the Conference Carolina Mini-Messick Sportsmanship awards in 2015-16. Men’s tennis earned the award for the second consecutive year, while men’s soccer won their first Messick Award.
For the fifth straight year, King finished third in the Hawn Cup standings, the Conference Carolinas all sports trophy, behind Limestone College and the University of Mount Olive, and captured its fourth consecutive Blue Ridge Cup, the all sports competition with rival Lees-McRae College.
The King women’s wrestling team claimed their third consecutive national titles at both the NWCA National Duals and WCWA National Championships, boasting three individual national champions, one runner-up and 11 WCWA All-Americans.
The cycling program exploded onto the national stage in 2015-16, winning national championships at both the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships and Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships. Along with the two team titles, the Tornado won eight individual national championships.
Hicks was a key contributor to the process which resulted in the establishment of the inaugural Division II Wrestling League in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, with a pair of Tornado student-athletes earning all-conference recognition.
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 2016-17, he will begin his third 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 2016-17, he will serve the second year of a three year term 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 reside in Bristol with their four boys, Alex, age 17, Daniel, age 14, Stephen, age 12, and Luke, age 9.