It’s always good to come back home. Just ask Cion Hicks.
Hicks is well known at Shoemaker after earning a pair of gold medals in discus and shot put during her senior year at the state track meet, and she also holds the school records for both events.
Along with competing in track and field for the Lady Grey Wolves, she was also a four-year varsity basketball player before graduating in 2013.
“It’s really surreal,” Hicks said. “It’s a blessing to be able to come back to the school where everything kind of started for me and just seeing the kids that are here now and seeing the coaches that were here when I was here.”
Hicks made her return to her alma mater Tuesday night as a member of the girls basketball coaching staff with District 12-6A rival Waco Midway.
“It hurts a little bit,” said Shoemaker track coach Merdith Shaw-Moore of seeing Hicks in a different shade of blue nowadays, “but I’m proud of her.”
Moore recalled the excited phone call she got from Hicks after she received the job at Midway.
“I asked her, ‘Where’s the job at?’” Moore said, “and she kept telling me all about the job, and I said, ‘That’s great, but where’s it at?’”
Admittedly, Moore wasn’t thrilled to hear Hicks was going to a district rival, but she is excited nonetheless.
“As a coach,” Shaw-Moore said, “it’s great to see your former athlete grow, and now she gets to experience the other side — the coaching side.”
Coming from a family of athletes, the rivalry is alive among Hicks and her sisters Cherith Hicks, who is a junior on the Lady Grey Wolves basketball team.
“It’s kind of different because you never expect to play against your sister,” Cherith said, “but at the same time, I try to beat all her records.
“It’s more a sibling rivalry.”
Cion admits there was an exchange with her sister earlier in the week about the upcoming game.
“My sister and I will talk smack here and there,” Cion said, “but at the end of the day, it’s all about getting better and me helping her in any way I can to get better.
“So I think it’s a pretty cool dynamic.”
With her name etched in the record book at Shoemaker, many people who know Cion wonder how she ended up with the Pantherettes.
While she attended and competed in discus and shot put for Baylor, her strength coach knew the athletic director at Midway.
“The AD was keeping up with me out there,” Cion said, “and they offered me a pretty nice opportunity to teach health and coach two sports that I love, so it was a nice place to start everything.”
Cion teaches and is the freshman basketball coach and a varsity assistant.
“And then I coach the throwers for track,” she said with a grin. “I’m excited for that.
“The perspective of being a coach is way different than being an athlete. You definitely have to change the way you talk and the way you respond to things, so that’s definitely been a learning curve for me, but I love it.”
Although she works for an opposing competitor, Moore isn’t too concerned.
“She bleeds navy blue,” Moore said laughing. “She just has to wear that blue for work.”
Cherith also isn’t worried about her sister coaching for an opposing team.
“It would have been great to be able for her to coach me,” Cherith said, “but if she loves where she’s at, then I love where she’s at.”
Cion is outnumbered by Grey Wolves in her family as her father, Central Hicks, coaches the girls soccer team and her mother, Bernadette Hicks, is a counselor at Shoemaker.
Cherith competes in volleyball, basketball and track, and their brother, Freddy Hicks, is a senior, who participates in football, track and band.
“The one thing my parents always said was, ‘Go do your job, and go do it well,’” Cion said. “So I really appreciated that support from my family even with knowing I was going to be a district rival within the competitive sports we’re in.”
Regardless of where her coaching career takes her, however, it’s always good to come back home.
“Everybody knows at the end of the day Shoemaker is my alma mater,” Cion said. “And, of course, there’s always something about coming around Killeen.”