Hickman named as new WOS coach, AD

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

For the fourth time in school history, West Orange-Stark announced a new head football coach and athletic director.

The board voted 4-2 Monday to name Hiawatha Hickman, a longtime assistant coach for the Mustangs, to the position during a West Orange-Cove CISD school board meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris had named Hickman as the lone finalist for the position last week and recommended the defensive line coach to the board.

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Board members Linda Platt-Bryant, Ruth Hancock, Gina Yeaman and Demetrius Hunter voted in favor of promoting Hickman to the position, while Tricia Stroud and Tommy Wilson Sr. voted against. The seventh board member, Roderick Robertson, was not in attendance.

Hickman will take over for long-time Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Cornel Thompson starting Feb. 7.

Hickman, a Southeast Texas native, coached under Thompson’s watch for the past six years and served the Mustangs as a 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 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.”

On the football side, Hickman will be handed the keys to the state’s all-time winningest football program by winning percentage.

The Mustangs, since West Orange High School and Stark High School merged in 1977, has an overall record of 435-103-3 for an all-time winning percentage of .807.

The school has eight Class 4A State Championship game appearances, including state titles in 1986, 1987, 2015 and 2016.

In Thompson’s 11 years as the head coach, the Mustangs went 129-22 with a winning percentage of .854. He also amassed 11 straight district titles, in which the Mustangs never lost a district game. The Mustangs reached four straight state title games (2014-2017), winning state crowns in 2015 and 2016. WOS reached, at least, the Class 4A Region III Division II Finals 10 out of those 11 years, including last season.

“We are grateful to Coach T for his many years of exemplary leadership,” Harris said in a statement. “Moreover, his successful leadership of the Mustangs has left an incredible foundation upon which Coach Hickman can build upon in the years to come.”


— Written by Van Wade of the Orange Leader.