Jason Hicks resigned as coach of the Eastside Spartans football program to take on the duties as assistant principal and athletic director at Union.
Hicks replaces Dr. Mike Goforth at Union. Goforth announced earlier this year that he was leaving his post at Union after accepting the principal’s job at J.I. Burton.
The Eastside run was the second one for Hicks. This time around he coached two seasons.
Hicks took over a program that finished 2-8 in 2015. In his first season, 2016, Eastside finished 2-8 under Hicks. The Spartans turned things around last season, finishing 6-5 overall, including a 49-48 loss to Hurley in the opening round of the Region 1D playoffs. Eastside also won the Cumberland District championship with a perfect 5-0 mark in the district.
Not because of any fault of his own, Hicks’ decision comes just over two months before the season kicks off.
“This was an opportunity that is good for me and my family at this time. For many of you, this may not be the best timing for you. You may be angry, hurt, confused or even relieved. I understand, and it’s OK. As I’ve told you guys, it is how you react to things in life that is important. Know I love each of you and enjoyed tremendously coaching each of you and will continue to love you,” Hicks said in a Facebook post on the Eastside Spartan Nation Football page.
STURGILL ASSUMES VOLLEYBALL DUTIES AT WISE CENTRAL
Jessica Sturgill has been named the new volleyball coach at Wise Central.
Sturgill replaces Angie Duncan, who resigned recently after serving as head volleyball coach for six seasons at Central.
“I’m very excited and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Sturgill said.
Sturgill decided not to play volleyball at the collegiate level, but she has been around the game for most of her life. She was a standout athlete at J.I. Burton in multiple sports, including volleyball.
She has served as junior varsity coach at Central for the last two seasons.
Her familiarity with the game and with the Central program specifically should help ease the transition for her from the JV to the varsity level.
“It should help, especially with the players. I’ve already coached some of them already,” she said.
Also helping the transition is Duncan’s willingness to help out. Although she resigned the head coaching position, Duncan said she is willing to help the program in whatever way she can.
Sturgill said that help will be needed and appreciated.
VIRGINIA-WISE ATHLETES HONORED
A softball player and three lacrosse players at Virginia-Wise have received recognition recently.
Softball pitcher Taylor Brandts received honorable mention to the Fastpitch News All-American NCAA DII team.
Brandts finished her senior season this year with a 17-11 record with three saves and ranked eighth nationally with a 1.04 ERA.
Three Virginia-Wise lacrosse players were named to the VaSID All-State team.
Senior goalie Melanie Reilly, junior defender Jessica Apgar and junior midfielder Kristin Gobbie were each second-team picks.
Reilly posted a .497 save percentage, while collecting 166 saves.
Apgar scooped up a team-high 71 groundballs in the season, including 10 games of four or more.
Gobbi scored a Mountain East Conference-leading 53 goals, while adding 34 draw controls in the season.