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Hickman, Gilbert join BA football staff

Andrew Hickman and David Gilbert are two new assistant football coaches at Brookhaven Academy. They join BA head football coach and athletic director Tripp McCarty’s staff.

     “We are tickled to death to have them with us,” said McCarty. “They work as hard as the kids . They are invested in our team concept.      “Both of those guys are Christians and that’s good for our kids,” McCarty pointed out. “You can’t have too many of them around.”

     McCarty added, “I am really fortunate to have a strong coaching staff.” Johnny Lane Ball joined McCarty’s staff last year. He serves as defensive coordinator and strength coach.

     Also on McCarty’s staff is Bruce Allsup. He serves as junior high football coach and directs the girls basketball program. Also on staff is volunteer assistant Will Lucas, a 2012 BA graduate who is working with the receivers.

     Hickman, 49, has been in private business for several years. He was head coach at Brookhaven High School in 2001. He worked with former BA coach Ray Ishee in 2005.

     “Coach McCarty asked me if I would help him out,” said Hickman. “These coaches out here do what it takes to win. They run a good program. I believe in what they are doing.”

     Hickman said he was realizing a long-term dream. “I always wanted to coach my two sons, Will and Heath.”

     Will is a senior wide receiver and defensive back. Heath is a sophomore quarterback and defensive back.

     Hickman is a 1981 graduate of Picayune. He played cornerback and wide receiver at Pearl River Community College before walking on at Ole Miss. He obtained a degree in biology and general science from Southern Miss. He obtained a master’s degree in sports administration from Mississippi College.

     He was defensive coordinator at Northeast Community College in Booneville for 2 years and served as AD and head coach at George County for 3 years before moving to Brookhaven.

     This season Hickman will work with the defensive backs and running backs. He is married to the former Karen Massengill of Brookhaven and she teaches second grade. Besides two sons, they have a daughter, Hannah, who is enrolled in nursing school at Mississippi College this fall.

     Gilbert, 27, is a 2003 Lawrence County graduate. He attended Belhaven University on a baseball scholarship and played shortstop. He has assisted Casey Edwards with BA’s baseball team for three years, including the 2010 state championship season.

     He majored in sports administration at Belhaven and obtained a master’s degree from Southern Miss in sports and coaching. He was a graduate assistant at Belhaven, working with head coach Hill Denson and veteran assistant Clay Smith.

     “This has been a great fit for me,” said Gilbert. “I’m learning a lot every day in practice.”

     Gilbert is coaching wide receivers most of the time as BA hones its no-huddle, high-octane offense. The Cougars captured the District 5-AA championship and finished 11-2 last season.

     Gilbert will teach physical education.

     The Cougars make their 2012 debut Aug. 17, at Silliman Institute in Clinton, La.