LAFAYETTE — After a tumultuous 2015 football season that featured the resignation of coach Trev Faulk and Northside losing six of its first seven games, the Vikings have found a new coach in former Centerville coach Anthony Hicks.
Hicks’ previous stops also include Peabody and North Central.
Hicks, who considers himself a friend of Faulk’s, said he secured the job when he and Northside principal Julia Williams closely aligned on their vision of the program during the interview process.
“My goal is to enhance their knowledge of the game of football, to teach them how to be relevant in this game called life as well as making sure that they graduate from Northside and be productive citizens in the community in which they reside,” Hicks said.
In the interview, they also discussed the program’s rich history and the desire to restore some pride in it.
The Hattiesburg, Mississippi, native is taking over a Northside program that has fallen on some hard times. The Vikings have not had a winning season since 2010, when they went 8-2 in the regular season and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Since then, the Vikings have won between three and five games each season. But Hicks said he’s experienced with this sort of revival.
“I told Mrs. Williams throughout the interview that Northside reminded me of Peabody,” Hicks said. “When I took the Peabody job, they were 2-7. I was able to go in that first year and go 6-4 and go ahead and play Edna Karr (in the playoffs). Then we turned back around and went 7-3 and played Crowley in the playoffs. It reminds me of that school.
Last season was Centerville’s first with a varsity football program. Hicks guided the fledgling program to a 3-0 start before losing eight straight to close the season, including a 31-0 loss to La Salle in the playoffs.
Centerville also pulled a tough district to break a new program in. The Bulldogs’ district competition included Ascension Episcopal, Vermilion Catholic and Central Catholic, three teams that combined to go 26-4 during the regular season before securing the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 seeds in the Division IV playoff bracket.
“Playing those types of teams will definitely get you ready as a coach to learn about the game of football,” Hicks said.
At Northside, Hicks said he doesn’t plan on coming in and talking about a state championship from Day 1. He described his teaching style as upfront and realistic.
But he also hopes to establish a positive culture that can reap the benefits of some hard work.
“I don’t go out there and try to sell them any kind of dream,” Hicks said. “I just tell them if you go out there and give all you’ve got, play hard, do the little things and do things the right way, then all things are possible.”