The former Lake Brantley High School standout, who began his professional career with the Elizabethton Twins June 19, finished the 2012 campaign batting .316 with 14 home runs, 72 RBI, a .560 slugging percentage and 56 walks.
“It is an honor and a blessing,” Hicks said from the road about his award. “I couldn’t have done it without all the support over the years. Through the high and the lows, the UCF nation always showed their support.
“I also couldn’t have asked for a better home for my college experiences. I especially want to thank my coaches for giving me an opportunity four years ago.”
The Altamonte Springs native closed out his UCF career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history. He was a NCBWA Third Team All-America honoree in 2011 and also was the preseason Conference USA Player of the Year in 2012 and the first Knights position player to be named to the Baseball America Midseason All-America Team this past April.
Hicks was a two-time NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team honoree and finished second all-time at UCF in sacrifice flies, fifth in home runs, sixth in RBI and seventh in walks. He ranks second all-time with a .995 fielding percentage and made 38 appearances on the mound.
Most recently, Hicks was selected in the 17th round of the First-Year MLB Draft with the 520th overall pick by the Minnesota Twins and signed shortly after.
KEVIN SCHNALL NAMED UCF BASEBALL ASSISTANT COACH
UCF head baseball coach Terry Rooney announced Wednesday morning the addition of Kevin Schnall to his coaching staff. After spending 12 years at Coastal Carolina, Schnall will serve as the Knights’ hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.
“Kevin has established himself as one of the top offensive coaches in the country, along with a proven track record of recruiting and developing players at the highest level of college baseball,” Rooney said. “His success in the preceding areas is demonstrated by consistently leading his teams to the NCAA postseason.”
The Chanticleers made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 11 out of 12 seasons with Schnall on staff, while advancing to the Super Regionals in 2008 and 2010. In those same seasons, Schnall also aided Coastal Carolina to a share of the Big South regular season or tournament title.
“The years I spent at Coastal were 12 great years, both playing there and having the opportunity to coach. It is a special place, but this opportunity came up and it was one that I felt like I couldn’t turn down,” Schnall said. “My family and I are really excited not only about being a part of UCF, but being a part of the Orlando community.
“I’ve known Coach Rooney for over 10 years now. I am looking forward to getting into the trenches with him and being a part of it all and hopefully making an impact on the program.”
In 2012, the Chanticleers won their sixth-straight Big South Tournament and advanced to the Columbia Regional. In its sixth-consecutive season in the NCAA Tournament, Coastal went 1-2 with a victory over Manhattan to end the season with a 42-19 overall record. The squad hit .286 on the year under Schnall and had four position players named to the All-Big South First and Second Teams, including outfielder Daniel Bowman who was awarded Big South Player of the Year.
Schnall, a former Big South Player of the Year in his days behind the plate with the Chanticleers, also assisted with the catching unit his past 12 years in Conway. He coached Dock Doyle and Jose Iglesias, who were both finalists for the 2008 and 2010, respectively, Johnny Bench Awards, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher. Most recently, Schnall aided Chanticleer backstop Tucker Frawley to semifinalist status for the same award.
Schnall also boasts successful stints as a summer league head coach. In 2001, he coached Front Royal (Va.) of the Valley League and led the Cardinals to the playoffs. In 2002, Schnall was tabbed by the Baseball Factory to coach one of its select summer teams.
In his playing days, Schnall became just the second Chanticleer in Big South history to bat over .400 in a season (.405). He was named Big South Player of the Year in 1999 and led Coastal to a 43-15 record, the program's best mark since 1983. Schnall slugged seven home runs and collected 48 RBI and struck out just 19 times all season, setting a school record for on-base percentage (.515). He finished his career as an NCBWA Second Team All-American and was a finalist for the Rotary Smith National Player of the Year award.
Schnall's collegiate success earned him notice from the Cincinnati Reds, who made him their 25th-round pick in 1999. He played two seasons in the Reds farm system, compiling time with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League and the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League.
He is married to the former Megan Magee. The couple has a daughter, Sydney, and a son, Jayden.