Unlike the past several weeks we travel back only 17 years to find our “Where Are They Now?” athlete. Brian Hicks played junior varsity and varsity four years as an infielder for the Eagles. Brian was voted team captain his senior year. He graduated from Central High School in 1995.
He is the son of Joel Hicks and Anne Funderburk and he and his wife Karis have two sons, Landon and Lawson. The family attends Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. Hicks lists his hobbies as drag racing and coaching his son Landon in the Jefferson Dixie Youth. He also enjoys spending time with his family and being a dad. He is employed by ATI Allvac in Monroe, N.C.
Hicks recently shared some memories of playing baseball for Central.
“Joey Mangum was our coach and he was a good one. He was very knowledgeable of the game. Our region rivals were Chesterfield and Andrew Jackson. AJ had a good ball club, but we had pretty good luck against them. We played Chapin in the playoffs my senior year and I remember they were very good. Our team was a close bunch of guys who had good chemistry,” he said. “Some of my teammates were Daniel Kirkley, Pat Patterson, Bryan Smith, Joe Horton, Neil Williams, Seneca Miller, David Pigg and Kevin Rivers. We had a lot of talent on that team. We had guys who could swing the bat and play defense. We had a lot of fun.”
Hicks said he felt a strong connection to Mangum.
“Coach Mangum was almost like a dad. I looked up to him then and still do. He is Central High School and he did a lot of things to help kids that no one knows about,” he said. “Mark Black was my junior varsity coach and along with Mitch Leaird and Marty Eubanks they were good coaches who I also looked up to.”
Leaird said Hicks was a great asset to the team.
“Brian was a good defensive player and a hard-worker who had good work ethics,” Leaird, an assistant coach at the time, said. “He was a team leader and team player. He is doing a good job now coaching in the Jefferson Dixie Youth.”
Mangum said Hicks was an outstanding infielder.
“Brian played shortstop and second base and did a good job at both positions,” he said. “He was one of my favorite players. He had a good attitude, always gave 100 percent and never complained.”