After eight seasons at St. Stephens High, Wayne Hicks has notified the school’s administration that he is stepping down as the Indians’ head football coach. St. Stephens athletic director Billy Baker announced Hicks’ decision in an email sent to media members on Thursday afternoon.
Prior to taking over St. Stephens’ football program in 2013, Hicks made various coaching stops at both the college and high school levels, including as the head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University from 2002-06 and the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Hickory High from 2008-12. Hicks will represent St. Stephens for the final time as an assistant coach during the annual East-West All-Star Game this July in Greensboro, and next January he will be recognized by the American Football Coaches Association as a 35-year member.
During his eight years at the helm of the St. Stephens football program, Hicks guided the Indians to an overall record of 30-56 and a conference mark of 18-36. His best season came in 2015, when St. Stephens finished 7-6 (3-4 in conference play) and defeated Pisgah 14-13 in the opening round of the 3A state playoffs.
The Indians were 5-3 against crosstown rival Hickory during Hicks’ tenure, including victories in three of the last four seasons. In Hicks’ final game last Friday, St. Stephens earned a 27-19 road win over the Red Tornadoes.
“We at St. Stephens High School are grateful for Coach Hicks’ years of service,” said Baker. “He was always a professional and always had our young men prepared. Coach Hicks is a man of strong character and integrity and represented St. Stephens well.”
Baker added that Hicks plans to continue teaching health and physical education for the time being “without the rigors of being a head football coach.”
According to Baker, St. Stephens will soon begin accepting applications for its next head football coach, the Indians’ sixth since the turn of the century. John Jarman (2000-02), Doug Justice (2003-07), Fred Whalen (2008-11) and Chris Bunting (2012) coached St. Stephens prior to Hicks.
Hicks graduated from Marianna High in Florida before earning his bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University in 1984 and his Master’s in Science from Eastern Kentucky University in 1988. His first coaching job came at Marianna High in 1984 as the football team’s defensive coordinator and the head coach of the varsity wrestling squad.