Hicks OC for Robert Morris
WEIRTON – When Darrin Hicks graduated from Weir High 22 years ago all he wanted to do was continue his football career and Washington and Jefferson University gave him the opportunity to do that.
Little did Hicks, who is the son of Scott and Jan Hicks of Weirton, know that his pursuit of a football career would take him to so many different parts of the United States that he could feel more like a tour coordinator than the offensive coordinator of the Robert Morris University football team.
Hicks was hired for that job last fall when former Pittsburgh Steeler defensive lineman, John Banaszak, became head coach at Robert Morris upon the retirement of Joe Walton, who founded the Colonial football program and coached it the past 20 years.
After three seasons as an offensive lineman at Weir High, Hicks graduated in 1992 and went to Washington and Jefferson University where he played four years on the Presidents’ offensive line. W&J compiled a 43-6 record during those years (1992-96) and twice went to the national small college championship game.
Banaszak became head coach of the Presidents during Hicks’ senior season of 1996 and even though he only played for Banaszak one year, the two struck up a lasting friendship.
Hicks’ association with Banaszak and his love of football took him into coaching after earning a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at W&J.
In 1998, he became a graduate assistant coach at Emporia State in Emporia, Kansas where he coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Moving on, Hicks traveled all the way to the west coast as the offensive line coach at California Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, Ca. in 1999 and was offensive coordinator there in 2000 and 2001.
He returned to Washington and Jefferson as defensive coordinator under Banaszak in 2002, but that was the year that the former Steeler moved on to be an assistant to Walton at Robert Morris.
So Hicks got a job as an assistant coach at Texas State in San Marcos, Texas in 2003 and in 2004 was named offensive coordinator at Huron University in Huron, South Dakota. That was a tumultuous year for the South Dakota team and school. After three games, Hicks moved up to head coach, but Huron closed its doors after that 2004 season.
In 2005, Hicks found himself at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. where he was offensive coordinator.
“I took a year off in 2006 to recharge my battery,” said Hicks.
But he discovered he still wanted to coach and in 2007 was named the offensive coordinator at Delta State in Cleveland, Miss. where he stayed for three years before moving on to be offensive coordinator at North Carolina Wesleyan in Rocky Mount, N.C.
Last season, Hicks was quarterbacks coach at St. Augustine University in Raleigh, N.C. under head coach Ben Coates, who was a five-time All Pro with the New England Patriots.
“I believe in coach Banaszak and the type of program he runs,” said Hicks, who was working hard heading up to Saturday’s spring game at Robert Morris in Joe Walton Stadium. “It is nice to be back home near my mom and dad and the place where I grew up.
“I believe this is a tremendous opportunity, but I feel fortunate for every step that I took to get here. I met a lot of wonderful people along the way. I had a lot to learn at each step and I am blessed to have all those people in my life.
“I feel very fortunate to be back with coach Banaszak. He has such leadership and vision. He has been here for eight seasons as the assistant head coach and we have a program that is on solid footing. We have some experienced players back and some promising new ones and I’m looking forward to us having a great season in the Northeast Conference.”
Hicks and the former Jennifer Wilson of New Cumberland have been married for the past 12 years. She is a nurse instructor at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute and the couple is in the process of looking for a home in which to settle down with their two Labrador puppies.