LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) Scott County boys’ basketball coach Billy Hicks became the first coach in KHSAA history to win 1,000 career games when his Cardinals beat Douglass 70-38 Thursday night. Hicks, who has been at Scott County since 1994, also becomes the 19th coach in the country to eclipse the 1,000-win mark.
“This is for Kentucky, Kentucky high school basketball,” said Hicks after the game. “I’ve always loved Kentucky high school basketball and, once I started coaching it, I never wanted to do nothing else."
Hicks started his Hall of Fame coaching career in Harlan County at Evarts High School (his alma mater) in 1978. “A lot of people think I’m a Central Kentucky guy,” said Hicks with his typical smile. “My roots will always be and always have been in the mountains and I’m really proud of that.”
After leaving Evarts at the conclusion of the 1983 season, Hicks coached at Harlan (1983-1986) and Corbin (1986-94) before turning Scott County into the most envied program of the last quarter century.
Since arriving in Georgetown in 1994, Hicks has 688 of his 1,000 wins as the Scott County head coach. “I’ve worked with great people, but Dallas Blankenship (former Scott County superintendent) was a great guy to work for. He wanted what I wanted and that was a big-time basketball program.”
To say Hicks has turned the Cardinals into a big-time basketball juggernaut would be the understatement of a lifetime. Scott County High School, which began playing basketball in 1955, had only been to the Sweet 16 state tournament four times before Hicks’ arrival in 1994. The Cardinals first trip to the state tournament under Hicks was in 1995 and then again in 1996.
If it is true the third time is the charm, 1998 proved to be the pinnacle of the dream forged by Hicks and Blankenship when Scott County captured its first state championship beating Paintsville 89-78. It certainly would not end with that ’98 crown because Scott County secured another title in 2007.
In all, Hicks has made 13 state tournament trips with 12 coming at Scott County and has been to the championship game five times. His Redbirds are the favorite again to win the 11th region championship in 2019.
As for his milestone, Hicks will continue to deflect credit to those around him. “It’s an award that belongs to everybody that has been a part of my life.”
And what a life that has been.