Born on April 4, 1927, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Robert Charles Hicks graduated from McCaskey High School in 1944. “Bobby” was a three sport athlete, co-captaining the football team, as well as serving as President of the Student Council. He received a scholarship to Penn State, playing football his freshman year.
When he turned 18, Bob left Penn State to enlist in the US Army, serving in Germany during the occupation until October 1946. He returned to college in 1947, playing on the now famous 1947 Cotton Bowl football team, co-captaining the Penn State football team in 1949, lettering in football all four years. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, Skull and Bones and Parmi Nous.
He began his career as Asst. Football Coach at Albright College (PA). In 1954, he became Head Coach at Juniata (PA), then DePauw (IN), University of Detroit (MI) and in 1962 as Head Football Coach, Professor and Department Head at Wagner College, (NY) until his retirement in 1977. His 26 year career included four undefeated teams (Juniata ’54 and ’55, Wagner ’64 & ’67), culminating with induction into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Hall of Fame, Susquehanna Chapter. Subsequently, he served as Cranford Township (NJ) Director of Pools for 10 years, maintaining facilities that were utilized for community recreation as well as state-wide JOs and setting up a workout facility at a time when exercise was not yet in vogue.
Having attended high school at time of war, he developed a strong sense of personal responsibility and an understanding of the importance of our human interdependence. He always strived to “do better,” to gather people together, often from diverse backgrounds, to achieve more than they could alone. This is what made him a great coach and mentor.
Robert Hicks died at home in Newport Beach, California on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the age of 91. His unwavering belief that young men and women can rise above their singular situation to bring about great outcomes is why two annual memorial Leadership Scholarships have been created in his name at McCaskey High School.
Donations can be made to the Robert C. Hicks Leadership Scholarships online at LancasterEdFND.org (add “Hicks” in the special instructions link) or by check to Lancaster Education Foundation, 1020 Lehigh Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602 (include “Hicks” in memo section).