Robert M. “Bob” Hicks

About This Inductee

From the halcyon years of great football and basketball at Hazleton High during the late 1930’s to acting head football coach at Indiana University of the Big Ten is the story in a nutshell of Robert M. “Bob” Hicks. But there was a lot in between and after for the former Mountaineer lineman and basketball player. His football ability on the undefeated 10-0 Hazle-ton High 1938 football team earned him All-State honors and a University of Tennessee scholarship. He also lettered on the 1937-38 Hazleton High State championship basketball team and on the 1938-39 Hazleton High East Penn League title team. At Tennessee, Hicks played for one of the most famous coaches ever in college football, Gen. Bob Neyland. He was a member of the 1946 9-1 Orange Bowl team. In between starting and finishing his college career, he served four years and six months in the U.S. Navy during World War II, starting as an apprentice seaman and being discharged as a lieutenant (jg) athletic officer. Following graduation from Tennessee, he served as head football coach and assistant basketball coach at Milan High Tennessee, where he immedi-ately turned the football program around. His next stop was Spartanburg (S.C.) High School where the superintendent of schools said he was “without a doubt one of the finest and ablest coaches I have ever known.” There, too, he took a program that was in shambles and made it a winner. Neyland said Hicks was “one of the best coaching prospects ever produced at the University of Tennessee.” In the fall of,1953, Hicks joined the staff of the late Phil Dickens at the University of Wyoming, where he served as first assistant for four years, primarily coaching the linemen, who played both ways. Wyoming went to the Sun Bowl in 1957 and won two conference titles. Dickens and Hicks went to Indiana University in 1957. Hicks turned down an offer to become head coach at Wyoming to remain with Dickens as first assistant, thus starting his 30-year career at Indiana. He remained Dickens’ first assistant for eight years and stayed on as defensive line coach when John Pont succeeded Dickens in 1966. In 1967,.Indiana was co-champion of the Big Ten and played in the 1968 Rose Bowl. After Pont’s resignation, Hicks served as acting head coach one season. In 1973, he was named assistant athletic director, and in 1977 he was appointed director for Program Services and Facilities in the School of HPER. Now retired and living in Bloomington with his wife, Louise, who was also a teacher, Hicks is the father of three children and six grandchildren. He is a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Hicks. His father operated a popular pharmacy in downtown Hazleton for many years.