On Thursday, January 20, 2022, West Orange-Cove CISD superintendent, Dr. Rickie Harris, announced Hiawatha Hickman as the lone finalist for the Athletic Director/Head Football Coach position for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. The finalist will be presented to the WOCCISD Board of Trustees for consideration at the regular board meeting on Monday, January 24, 2022. If approved, the new athletic director will be expected to take the helm on February 7, 2022.
The athletic director/head football coach position became available after longtime athletic director, Cornel Thompson, announced his retirement in December of 2021. Thompson has served ten years as athletic director/head football coach with a total of 46 years as an employee of WOCCISD.
“We are grateful to Coach T for his many years of exemplary leadership,” Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris said in a statement. “Moreover, his successful leadership of the Mustangs has left an incredible foundation upon which a forthcoming athletic director can build upon in the years to come.”
As a SETX native, Hickman has coached under Thompson’s watch for the past six years and has served the Mighty Mustangs as a football defensive line coach and head girls track coach. He attended McMurry University on a football scholarship, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies (History/PE). His resume boasts a Master of Education degree from Lamar University with a principal certification. In addition to his coaching duties, he currently works as an assistant principal at West Orange-Stark High School. Hickman collectively brings 22 years of teaching and coaching experience to the position, including ten years as defensive coordinator at Silsbee ISD.
“I have a passion and enthusiasm for coaching and teaching. Great coaches ARE great teachers,” Hickman said. “Winning is a product of mutual hard work from staff and players.”
Following the candidate recommendation from the superintendent, the WOCCISD Board of Trustees will make a final decision, and an official announcement will be made regarding the selection.