Hicks' Head Coaching Career
Year Team Conference Finish NCAA Finish 4,601.62 8th 4,610.33 4th 4,597.08 DNQ 4,610.60 6th 4,589.50 6th (GARC) DNQ 2011-12 Nebraska 4,611.08 3rd (GARC) DNQ 4,603.37 Best at NU: 3rd Best at NU: 4th
Avg. Team Score
Best at NU: 3rd
Best at NU: 4th
Morgan Hicks finished her fifth season at the helm of the Nebraska rifle program in 2011-12 and continues to help the Huskers in their climb toward national prominence.
A 2008 ISSF World Cup rifle champion and 2004 U.S. Olympian as a competitor, Hicks has helped the Nebraska rifle program continue to be one of the strongest in the nation after taking over for former NU rifle coach Launi Meili. Hicks led her first NU squad to a fourth-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships before finishing ranked 10th in 2009, just missing the top-eight position needed to compete at the NCAA Championships.
Prior to her arrival at Nebraska, Hicks coached Murray State to a top-10 NCAA finish in 2007. She spent the 2006-07 season as Murray State's men's and women's head rifle coach. In her first year at the helm of her alma mater, she not only led the Racers to a second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference Championships, but also coached them to an eighth-place finish in their 26th NCAA Championships appearance.
Hicks became the Murray State head coach after serving two years as the volunteer assistant coach and graduate assistant. Prior to her Murray State coaching experience, Hicks was a coach for the civilian marksmanship program, which honed rifle competitors across the United States.
As a rifle competitor, Hicks was an eight-time All-American for Murray State from 2000 to 2004, where she was crowned the 2004 NCAA air rifle champion. Hicks also has vast international experience, as she traveled to World Cups in Milan, Italy (2004, 2006) and Munich, Germany (2006) and the World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia (2006).
She was a U.S. Olympic team member in 2004, when she earned a 12th-place finish at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece. Hicks also competed on the Junior Olympic team four times (1998-2001), earning the smallbore championship in 2001. In March 2008, Hicks captured gold at the ISSF World Cup 50M Three-Position Rifle competition.
Hicks graduated from Bethel High School in Spanaway, Wash., in 2000 before earning her bachelor's degree in physical education and health from Murray State in 2004. She then went on to receive her master's degree in secondary education at Murray State in 2006. In addition to being an NCAA-certified coach, Hicks is the secretary and treasurer of the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association and the USA Shooting Board of Directors Athletic Rifle representative.
The Hicks File
Name: Morgan Hicks
Hometown: Roy, Wash.
Education: Bachelor of Science, Murray State, 2004;
Masters of Science, Murray State, 2006
Head Coaching Experience: Nebraska, 2007-present
Murray State, 2006-07
Other Coaching Experience: Murray State, 2004-06
Awards and Honors: 50M Three-Position Rifle ISFF World Cup Champion, 2008
Eight-time All-American for Murray State Rifle Team, 2000-2004;
NCAA Air Rifle Champion, 2004;
U.S. Olympic team member, 2004
Q&A with Coach Hicks
What is your coaching philosophy?
MH: “It’s more one-on-one and personal. This is a very individual sport, but it’s important to realize how one score can affect other scores for the team. I encourage teamwork. A lot of times, coaches will tell a team ‘shoot your 60 shots and tell me your score.’ I want to know more about that score. I don’t want to know just the end result; I want to know how they got there. That’s the growth I want to see from each shooter. I also want them to enjoy their four years as collegiate shooters because they’ll ultimately shoot better.”
What qualities do you look for in a shooter when you’re recruiting?
MH: “When I’m recruiting, I look for someone who is a strong shooter and can handle shooting under pressure. If they’re shooting U.S. matches, I look at their ranking. I want to build a strong team, so I’m looking for personalities that mesh well together. That makes a stronger team. It’s difficult with our sport because we’re so small, and I’m only able to sign two or three recruits each year. You have to be picky, and I know I want a talented shooter who fits in with the dynamics of Nebraska rifle.”
What does your international success lend to your job as a coach?
MH: “I think it’s good that a lot of the recruits see what I’ve done. It shows that I have a lot of experience and knowledge. I’m 27 years old, recently out of college, but I think that helps because I can honestly say to a shooter, ‘I’ve done this; I know what you’re going through, and I know how things work.’ I can show them what is most effective. The international experience also helps with knowing how to juggle everything. Just a few years ago, I was shooting internationally, I was going to college, I had a job and I was shooting for Murray State all at once. I know how to balance everything, and I think my team benefits from that. It shows them that it’s possible to hold things together when, for example, I’m coaching full-time, shooting internationally and doing well.”
What was it like to win an NCAA title your senior year?
MH: “I didn’t expect it, but I wanted it. That was one of my goals in college. The first was to earn a college scholarship for rifle, the second was to be an All-American and the third was to win a national title. Air rifle was my last shot that day, and I shot a 398. I was up against a lot of great shooters, but I knew I could contend for it.”