Jesse Hicks had tremendous success during an eight-year run as Baldwin’s head coach, winning 70 games from 2002-09.
After being approved by the Baldwin County Board of Education on Tuesday evening, Hicks will get a chance to add to his win total with the Braves. Hicks said he informed the Central team Monday of his decision to move.
“I’ve done this twice, and it never feels good,” Hicks said of leaving a program to take another position. “The kids (at Central) are like my own children. You never release the bonds, and you worry about them.
“It’s tough to tell them about the career change. It was a tough day (Monday), a tough night, and it was tough (Tuesday) morning.”
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Hicks, who left Baldwin after the 2009 season to take over the Dougherty program, was Central’s head coach for five years, leading the Chargers to back-to-back 6-4 seasons. In his first stint at Baldwin, Hicks’ teams reached the postseason every season except one. The 2005 team reached the GHSA Class 4A semifinals, falling to Northside at the Georgia Dome.
“I told (people at Central) that they were pursuing me, so they kind of knew,” Hicks said. “Still, the initial shock (Monday) was hurtful.
“Milledgeville always has had great athletes, and they have proven that they can get the facilities and do the things you need to be successful. The bonds we had (at Baldwin) never really have been broken.”
Hicks said he would like to see one of his current assistants take the Central position.
“I have assistants who have been with me 16 years, back to Albany State,” Hicks said. “You can’t hold people back. I hope one of those guys gets the job. They would be a good hire.
“I really want to thank the Bibb County School District for giving me an opportunity to coach.”
Hicks takes over for Lee Hannah, who went 15-18 in three seasons with the Braves.
“He’s come in and done done great things. He built a relationship with the kids and the community,” Central principal Emanuel Frazier said. “He built bonds that will be hard to break. We’re going to miss him, but you have to make a decision for yourself and your family, and we can’t be selfish and tell him to stay.
“We do have quality in-house candidates, but this job is going to be appealing from the outside, as well. Part of that is what Jesse did to build the program. There will be 65-70 back next year, and there’s a real strong eighth grade class from Miller coming up.”