Leader of the Pack

To capture every element of the triumph and tragedy that have shaped Scott County High School boys’ basketball coach Billy Hicks would be an impossible task.

News-Graphic video producer James Scogin settled on the past quarter-century for his documentary, “Leader of the Pack.”

The film will premiere at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Susan Moore Auditorium at SCHS, prior to that night’s home basketball game against Holy Cross Covington. The screening is free and open to the public.

“There’s so much to him,” Scogin said. “The documentary covers his 25 years at Scott County, with a little bit of Corbin and eastern Kentucky and his roots thrown in there. It doesn’t cover everything that Billy is. I wish it did, but that would be a whole other feat.”

Hicks recently became the first high school coach in Kentucky history to earn 1,000 wins. Only five active boys’ coaches in the United States and 30 in all have ever hit the milestone.

Since moving to Scott County for the 1994-95 season, Hicks has guided the Cardinals to two state championships, six appearances in the state final and 12 regional titles.

The documentary takes a closer look at Hicks’ 1998 and 2007 KHSAA championship teams, complete with highlights, as well as the coaching and personal styles that have made him tick over the years.

“It was a blast,” Scogin said. “Watching Billy over that course of time and getting to know him better as an individual was what meant the most to me. Just hearing everybody, how they talked about him, and not just as far as basketball goes but in general. The small things that people picked up on in their years of knowing him were what stood out.”

In the interest of time, the 25-minute film doesn’t spend much time focused on Hicks’ humble beginning in coal mine country, where his career as a coach began in the late 1970s at alma mater Evarts High School.

Current coaching colleagues Tim Glenn and Steve Helton are prominently featured in the film. Helton, a former player for Hicks at Corbin, has been Scott County’s girls’ varsity coach for the past 19 seasons.

Recent star players Matt Walls and Dakotah Euton also share Hicks’ impact on their lives.

There is a brief segment about Hicks’ special relationship with his son, Tyler. A point guard for a team that made a deep tournament run his senior year, Tyler later graduated from the University of Kentucky and was in the U.S. Army at the time of his death in a highway accident.

Hicks consented to the process during the 2016-17 season. Conducting and editing the many conversations took nearly two full years.

Scogin experienced the hospitality and homespun humor that so many in Hicks’ circle described in their comments.

“That’s what I appreciate. (Hicks) inviting us into his home,” Scogin said. “Cooking for us, always offering us food and making sure we were taken care of just like we were one of his own. That’s what everyone has said through this. Once you’re in with him, you are family.”

DVD copies of the production are available by contacting the News-Graphic at (502) 863-1111.

Scogin, who also is a writer and photographer at the newspaper, graduated from SCHS and Asbury University. His other credits include coverage of University of Kentucky sports and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

“For years his story stood out to me,” Scogin said.

“Growing up in Scott County, watching him coach, watching the games from the mid to late 90s to now, I knew his story had to be shared, a piece of it. And I wanted to be the one to do it, and I was fortunate to be the one to do it.”

Kal Oakes can be reached at sports@news-graphic.com.

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