An assistant coach from a rival program is taking over the helms of the St. Stephens football program.
Wayne Hicks, who has served as an assistant football coach at Hickory High School since 2008, was approved to be the next Indians gridiron leader by Catawba County Schools Board of Education during a close session at its monthly meeting on Monday night.
He will serve as a biology and physical education teacher at St. Stephens starting next school year.
Hicks replaces Chris Bunting, who stepped down Feb. 11 after just one season as Indians coach to take an assistant coaching position at Clover High School (S.C.).
This past season, Hicks was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Red Tornadoes under former Hickory and current Fred T. Foard head coach Tom Harper.
The Red Tornadoes finished their 2012 football campaign with an 8-5 overall record, 4-2 mark in conference play and advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs.
With Hicks leading the defense from 2008-12, the Red Tornadoes were 24-38 overall and 15-18 in conference games.
That record includes an 0-13 mark in 2011 due to use of an ineligible player. Before the issued sanction, Hickory finished the season 8-4-1 overall and 4-2 in the Northwestern 3A/4A.
There are more than 27 years of coaching experience included on Hicks’ resumé, including stints mainly at the collegiate football level.
His most notable coaching tenure came when he led Lenoir-Rhyne from 2002-06 as the 17th coach in program history.
Hicks guided the Bears to a 17-36 overall record in his five seasons as head coach, including a 5-5 mark in the 2005 season.
Before coming to L-R, Hicks served as an associate head coach and defensive coordinator at North Carolina A&T University from 1995 to 2001.
With the Aggies, Hicks earned Div. 1-AA Defensive Coordinator of the Year awards from the American Football Coaches Magazine in 2000 and 2001.
He started his college coaching tenure at Elon in 1989 and stayed there until 1994, serving as the school’s co-offensive and defensive coordinator during his six seasons.
Hicks earned his Bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State in 1984 and later received his Master’s in Science from Eastern Kentucky University in 1988.
Hicks’ high school coaching career started in 1984 at his alma mater — Marianna High School (Fla.) — where he was a three-sport standout in football, wrestling and baseball.
During his four seasons of coaching at Marianna High, Hicks served as the football team’s defensive coordinator and also coached the varsity wrestling program.
The 51-year-old Hicks lives in Hickory with his wife, Tara, and two children, Nicole and Troy.
Hicks becomes the 11th different varsity football coach at St. Stephens since 1978 — a list that includes George Nazaravich (1978), Marty Curtis (1979-82), Roland Scott (1983-86), Dick Foster (1987-95), Gary Moore (1996-97), Frank Snider (1998-99), John Jarman (2000-02), Doug Justice (2003-07), Fred Whalen (2008-11) and Bunting (2012).
Hicks is expected to be officially introduced a press conference at St. Stephens High school today at 5 p.m.
For more details on this press conference, be sure to visit our website at observernewsonline.com and our Facebook page.