Thatcher High School has hired James Hicklin to head their athletic department after current AD Don Conrad stepped down to go back into the classroom and football field. Hicklin comes to the Gila Valley from Miami High School where he has held the same position for the past 3 years.
Hicklin earned a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Human Resource Management, a Master’s of Education degree from the University of Phoenix in Secondary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from American College of Education.
At Miami High, Hicklin’s position covered all sports for grades 7-12. “This has been a great opportunity to learn as both an Administrator and an Athletic Director. The complexity of this job requires a person who is has very good time management skills,” said Hicklin in an interview with GilaValleyCentral. Previously to becoming an administrator, he taught in three different high schools over the course of seven years. This year will be his eleventh year in the educational field.
Hicklin is not a stranger to the Gila Valley. He and his wife both spent time in the Gila Valley. Hicklin obtained his Associate’s Degree at Eastern Arizona College as well. “When I decided to leave Miami I began to look at what I considered ‘top level schools.’ This included both academics and sports. Most schools have one, not both. Many of the Athletic Directors around the state see Thatcher as one of the best schools in the state. These are two of the major reasons I was attracted to the job,” Hicklin said.
Hicklin will be tasked with hiring two new coaches as soon as his feet hit the ground in the Gila Valley. Both boys and girls basketball positions are open and the school is already taking applications. That doesn’t seem to faze Hicklin at all. “Upon getting to the point of interviews, I will be heading down to assist with the hiring of the two new coaches. I believe this is an important first assignment for me in my new position. I hear that there is interest in these positions from several current staff members,” answered Hicklin.
Scheduling has become a hot topic in the high school sports circles as of late. When the AIA switched to power point formulas, teams started scheduling their Freedom games against top opponents to gather more points towards their postseason seeding. Hicklin seems to be on top of that fact. When asked about his philosophy he said, ” I will work with each coach to determine who we should play for the freedom games. A full schedule is a must in order to prepare our teams to make a strong showing at the state level.”
In closing, James Hicklin wanted the Eagles community to know he understands traditions and will make the continuation of that a priority. “Thatcher has a long standing tradition of high quality teams, which has led to many state titles. Keeping these traditions within the sports programs will be a priority. Fair play and good sportsmanship are two of the qualities that I expect of the athletes who will play sports under my administration. High expectations will be placed on coaches to build the sports programs. Coaches will be evaluated on their performances during the season.”