Hicks, Joel Lee

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Joel Lee Hicks, age 81 of Fairlawn (Pulaski County) passed away Saturday, March 4, 2023. Born April 14, 1941 in Richwood, West Virginia, he was the son of the late Charles Hicks & Goldie Oyler Hicks. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Carolyn Heltzel and Mary Lou Borrelli.

Joel Hicks was a 1959 graduate of Richwood High School where he was all-state in Football, Basketball and Baseball. He then received a scholarship to play football at West Virginia University where he graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education before embarking on a Hall of Fame coaching career that spanned 38 years. Coach Hicks began his career as the Head Football Coach at Big Creek High School in War, West Virginia compiling a 34 – 15 – 1 record. He then accepted the Head Coaching position at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, where in 7 years, led the Flying Eagles to an outstanding 57 – 13 record. Coach Hicks then moved to West Virginia University where he had a 3-year stint as the Offensive Backs Coach under Frank Cignetti. The coaching staff at West Virginia University not only included Coach Hicks, it also included familiar names Nick Saban, Rick Trickett, Ed Pastilong, Garett Ford and Donnie Young.

In 1979, Coach Hicks accepted the Head Football Coaching position at Pulaski County High School, and it was here where he cemented his Hall of Fame career. Coach Hicks went 9 – 3 in his first year, including a 7 – 0 win over the number 1 ranked George Washington Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. For the next 23 years under Coach Hicks, Pulaski County became one of the premier High School football programs in the State of Virginia. Coach Hicks accumulated a record of 210 – 68 at Pulaski County that included 15 District Championships, 6 Regional Championships, 3-time State Runner Up, and a Division 6 Football State Championship in 1992. Coach Hicks retired from football in 2002 after compiling an overall record of 301-96-1 and receiving the Virginia High School League Coach of the Year honor 3 times. In 2004, Coach Hicks was awarded the Frank Loria Award for Outstanding Achievement in the State of West Virginia. He was inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame in 2016.

In addition to his Coaching career, Joel Hicks was also an avid competitive runner. Having competed in the Boston Marathon 3 times, Coach Hicks broke numerous age group records in marathons throughout the East Coast, also placing in the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego, California.

Coach Hicks married his high school sweetheart, Malinda Ellison, in 1963 and celebrated their 59-year anniversary in August of 2022. He has two children, Timothy (TJ) Hicks and Amy Hicks. At his core, Coach Hicks was a man that loved his family, his numerous pets and cherished his friendships. There were few days when you wouldn’t see Coach Hicks and his dog running with his buddies, playing golf with his close friends or at Bisset Park feeding the homeless cats. Coach Hicks impact on the communities where he coached and the players he coached, is apparent by the outpour of support given to his family at the news of his passing.

Coach Hicks will always be remembered for his love of family, the friendships he developed over the years, and his love for the players he coached. He will truly be missed.

Joel is survived by his

Wife of 59 years – Malinda Lee Ellison Hicks- Fairlawn (Pulaski County)

Children – Amy Lee Hicks & husband, Dr. Bob Bloom – Charleston, WV, Timothy (TJ) Hicks & wife, Cindy Irvin Hicks – Newport Beach, CA

Grandchildren – Jackson and Samuel Hicks, Alissah & Kyle Adkins, Sam & Juliet Bloom

Brother-in-law- Gerald Borrelli-Knoxville, TN

Nephews – Charlie Heltzel & wife, Sonji – Abingdon, VA, Dr. Scott Borrelli & wife, Amy and their daughters, Morgan and Madison – Knoxville, TN

Community memorial services will be held 3:00 PM – Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the Pulaski County, Kenneth J. Dobson Football Stadium on Joel Hicks Field, Dublin, Virginia with Pastor Larry Meadors officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be sent to the (Pulaski County Animal Shelter) Dublin, Virginia 24084.

To sign Joel’s online guestbook, visit www.bowerfuneralhome.com –

Bower Funeral Homes, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.