Poplin to lead Red Tornadoes boys hoops program

Andy Poplin received approval to serve as the new Hickory High School boys basketball coach during Hickory Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday night.

Poplin replaces Lavell Hall, who announced on March 28 that he would not be returning for a second season at the helm of the Red Tornadoes.

The 42-year-old Poplin will start his duties at Hickory High following the end of the current school year.

“I am thrilled to get the opportunity to return to Hickory after graduating from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1993,” Poplin said. “Hickory High was always a dream destination for me. I hope to bring my unique and innovative approach and mindset to coaching, training, educating and inspiring the young players in Hickory. I love to use basketball as a vehicle to motivate and inspire young people to reach their potential as a player, but more importantly as a person.”

Poplin comes off a nine-year coaching stint with Concord High School, where he guided the boys basketball program to a state championship in 2007. He also won two regional titles.

For his efforts, Poplin was twice named N.C. Preps 3A coach of the year.
Poplin coached at Mt. Pleasant High School from 1994 to 2003, leading the program to conference tournament championships, 2A sectional finals and the best record in the history of the program.

Also on Poplin’s coaching resumé are stints at West Caldwell High School (1992-93) and College Park Middle School (1989-92).

“Coach Poplin is a winner,” said Dr. Walter Hart, Hickory Public Schools superintendent. “His record speaks for itself with back-to-back regional championships, a state championship and players who go on to compete at the next level. His high energy and enthusiastic style motivates today’s players. He teaches the game of basketball with a contagious passion that connects to players and the community.”

Poplin has coached several high-profile athletes during his long coaching tenure, including Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and current college standouts Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), C.J. Harris (Wake Forest) and C.J. Williams (N.C. State).