Coach’s Corner: Getting to know Coach Steven Hickman
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By Amanda Lowrance
Steve Hickman has been the tennis coach at McNairy Central High School for a decade.
He is originally from Corinth, Miss. and has been married to Bonnie Hickman for almost 20 years.
Bonnie teaches at Selmer Middle School. They have a daughter, Lydia, who is a senior at MCHS.
“She plays a little bit of tennis,” Hickman said jokingly.
Hickman’s inspiration to coach tennis came from watching tennis on television as a kid.
“This was when the guys had afros and shorty shorts,” said Steve.
His earliest memory of sports was playing little league baseball at the Corinth YMCA.
“Corinth had a very good tennis program. I had to sit on the bench all the time in football, but the physical effort of the training was good for me.”
Baseball was also an interest for Hickman in high school, because Corinth had such a good team.
“I was young and impatient,” said Hickman. “Several boys went on to play college baseball. I decided to try out tennis.”
He later dropped baseball and football but went on to play varsity tennis. He hasn’t forgotten playing the other sports though and knows he made the right decision.
When talking about his best sports memories Hickman said, “In baseball, it was actually hitting a double in a game. I got on base with a double. I made it all the way to second instead of striking out.”
“My best memory in tennis was playing in the state tournament in Jackson, Mississippi.”
Steve graduated from Corinth High School, went to Mississippi State, transferred, and graduated from Freed Hardeman University with Bachelors in Education and majors in math and chemistry.
“I have taught a variety of classes,” said Hickman. “I have taught geometry, chemistry, physical science, and principle of technology. I can teach any physical science or math.”
Before coming to teach at MCHS, Hickman spent five years in Tippah County, Miss. at Falkner High School. The school was too small for a tennis team.
At MCHS, the program is not the biggest or the best in the state, but they learn while having a good time.
“To play tennis at a four year college, you have to be outstanding,” said Hickman. “Scott Hebert has done very well. He works at a tennis club as an instructor in Louisiana.”
Some players have continued to play and compete in tennis many years after graduation. Hickman himself still competes and has won several awards and trophies along the way.
“Steven Whittaker still plays in tournaments and leagues,” said Hickman. “We are going to play in the Candy Classic this weekend and defend our title. We won the doubles last year.”
Coach Hickman explains, “With boys’ soccer going on with baseball some of the boy athletes chose those sports over tennis. The biggest thing in our tennis program is to have fun. We have held our own and had success.”
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