December 19, 2012

Former Football Coach Bill Hickey to be Honored by AFCA

WACO, Texas—Former Coast Guard Academy head football coach Bill Hickey, a long time head and assistant coach, is this year's recipient of the AFCA Outstanding Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Hickey during the AstroTurf President's Kickoff Luncheon on January 7, 2013 at the AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tenn. The AFCA Board of Trustees created the Outstanding Achievement Award in order to recognize AFCA members, past and present, who have achieved outstanding success while coaching football. 

"I was absolutely thrilled to be named the AFCA Outstanding Achievement Award winner," Hickey said. "Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I had no idea, so it just knocked my socks off. I am very thankful to the AFCA for this honor."

He was the head coach at the Coast Guard Academy for four seasons (1976-'79).

Hickey began his long and storied coaching career at Notre Dame High School in Price, Utah, in 1958 where he took his team to one state championship, as well as three regional championships, in just three seasons. From there, Hickey went on to be a graduate assistant at the University of Wyoming in 1963, where he coached running backs and scouted for the team. In 1964, Hickey returned to high school football for two seasons and won a couple of state championships at Mullen High School in Denver, Colo., going an astounding 23-0-1 at the school. He moved on to Colorado State in 1966 before joining up with his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to become an assistant coach in 1969. While there, Hickey coached the offensive line and served as the assistant director of player personnel, contributing to Notre Dame's 1973 national championship.

Hickey left the Fighting Irish in 1975 to coach at the United States Military Academy for one season before taking the head coaching position at the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1976. After the 1983 season, Hickey took a break from coaching, but answered the call once again in 1992 to take a place on the Yale coaching staff as the outside linebackers coach.  A year later, Hickey would get one of the more unique opportunities in football coaching when the Bearlin Bears approached him to head up their European Football League team. In Berlin, Hickey was not only the head coach, but also the general manager, as well as the director of player personnel, keeping him plenty busy before returning to the United States.

Upon his return from Berlin, Hickey became the head coach at New York Military Academy from 1995-97. Hickey spent one season as an assistant coach at Fort Hays State University in 1997, then two years as an assistant at Trinity Pawling School (N.Y.). He moved on to Swarthmore College as an assistant coach in 2000 before joining the Princeton Tigers football program as an assistant coach in 2001. In 2002, Hickey became the head coach of the sprint football program at Princeton. The Princeton sprint football program began in 1931 and has featured some big names who played in the program in the decades since, such as former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld in 1954. 

After four years as the head coach of the Princeton sprint program, Hickey and his wife, Barbara, moved to Boise, Idaho, where he has been volunteering with the Boise State football team since 2006, helping with everything from special teams to defense.

Past Outstanding Achievement Award winners include: Tim Marcum, Tampa Bay Storm (2003); Joe Moore, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, University of Notre Dame (2005); Homer Smith, Davidson College, Pacific University, U.S. Military Academy (2006); Ted Kempski, University of Delaware (2007); Ken Donahue, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, University of Memphis, Mississippi State University (2008); and Roland Christensen, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Winona State University (2009).

The American Football Coaches Association was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football." 

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