Bernard Hickman
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Bernard Hickman
Bernard Hickman
Bernard Hickman.jpg
Hickman pictured in Thoroughbred 1947, Louisville yearbook
Biographical details
Born(1911-10-05)October 5, 1911
Central City, Kentucky
DiedFebruary 20, 2000(2000-02-20) (aged 88)
Louisville, Kentucky
Playing career
1931-1935Western Kentucky
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame (1967)
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall (1981)

Bernard "Peck" Hickman (October 5, 1911 - February 20, 2000) was an American basketball player and coach. As head coach he led the Louisville Cardinals to the 1948 NAIB Championship (today's NAIA), the 1956 NIT Championship and the school's first NCAA Final Four in 1959. He never had a losing season in 23 years as head coach, finishing with a 443-183 overall record, a .708 winning percentage that ranks him among the top 45 NCAA Division I coaches of all time.[1]

Early life and playing career

Hickman was born on October 5, 1911, in Central City, Kentucky.

High school

He attended Central City High School where he played basketball for head coach George Taylor. Central City went 116-20 during Hickman's four years (1928-31) in high school. They won four region championships and went to four State Tournaments[2] where he made the All-State Tournament team in 1929 and 1931.[3] He was also an all-state basketball player two seasons in 1930-31.[1]


He lettered three seasons at guard at Western Kentucky for head coach Ed Diddle. WKU went 83-25 during Hickman's four years in college. They won four KIAC Tournament Championships and one SIAA Tournament Championship. He made the Kentucky All-State team in 1933 and 1934, the ALL-KIAC Tournament team in 1935, and the ALL-SIAA Tournament team in 1934 and 1935.[4] He graduated from WKU in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He completed his master's degree in physical education at the University of Kentucky College of Education in 1944.[1]

Coaching career

High school

Hickman coached Hodgenville (KY) High School and Valley High School to a combined 216-49 record. He led Valley to the Kentucky Sweet 16 twice.[1]

University of Louisville

Hickman was hired as head coach in 1944 and guided his first team to a 16-4 record. Prior to his arrival the program only had winning seasons 11 times in 33 seasons.[1] The Cardinals never had a losing season in Hickman's 23 seasons as head coach.

He led Louisville to their first championship on a national level by winning the NAIB Championship in 1948.[5] In 1956, his team headed by All American Charlie Tyra won the NIT Championship.[6] In 1956 his team was placed on two years probation, to include bans on postseason play, by the NCAA due to recruiting violations.[7] In 1959 he led the Cardinals to their first NCAA Tournament Final Four.

From 1954 to 1967, Hickman doubled as head coach and athletic director, a position he would hold full-time until his retirement in 1973. One of Hickman's last acts as athletic director was to hire UCLA assistant coach Denny Crum, who would lead the program to two NCAA titles and six final fours en route to the College Basketball hall of fame.

In 24 years, Hickman compiled a record of 443-183 (.708).

Hickman graduated 82 percent of his players, and was the first basketball coach in Kentucky to break the color barrier in 1962, by recruiting Eddie Whitehead, and Wade Houston.[8]

Awards and honors

Hickman was inducted into the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame in 1967 and to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall in 1981.[9]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Louisville Cardinals (KIAC) (1944-1948)
1944-45 Louisville 16-3 -- -- --
1945-46 Louisville 22-6 -- -- KIAC Tournament Participant
1946-47 Louisville 17-6 -- -- KIAC Tournament Participant
1947-48 Louisville 29-6 -- -- NAIB Champion
Olympic Trials Participant
Louisville Cardinals (Independent) (1948-1964)
1948-49 Louisville 23-10 -- -- --
1949-50 Louisville 21-11 -- -- --
1950-51 Louisville 19-7 -- -- NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1951-52 Louisville 20-6 -- -- NIT Participant
1952-53 Louisville 22-6 -- -- NIT Elite Eight
1953-54 Louisville 22-7 -- -- NIT Participant
1954-55 Louisville 19-8 -- -- NIT Elite Eight
1955-56 Louisville 26-3 -- -- NIT Champion
1956-57 Louisville 21-5 -- -- --
1957-58 Louisville 13-12 -- -- --
1958-59 Louisville 19-12 -- -- NCAA Tournament Final Four
1959-60 Louisville 15-11 -- -- --
1960-61 Louisville 21-8 -- -- NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1961-62 Louisville 15-10 -- -- --
1962-63 Louisville 14-11 -- -- --
1963-64 Louisville 15-10 -- -- NCAA Tournament Participant
Louisville Cardinals (Missouri Valley Conference) (1964-1967)
1964-65 Louisville 15-10 -- -- --
1965-66 Louisville 16-10 8-6 4th NIT Participant
1966-67 Louisville 23-5 12-2 1st NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Total: 443-183 (.708)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Former Hoop Coach/AD Hickman Dies". Louisville Athletic Association. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-29. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Kentucky State Tournament All-Tournament Teams" (PDF). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)/2012-13%20Men's%20Basketball/2012-13%20WKU%20Men's%20Basketball%20Media%20Information%20Guide.pdf?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=5400
  5. ^ "NAIA DIVISION I MEN'S BASKETBALL" (PDF). NAIA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "NIT Postseason Tournament Results (1950's)". NCAA. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ "The Stanford Daily 3 May 1956 -- the Stanford Daily".
  8. ^ "HR 183". Kentucky General Assembly. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "NACDA All-Time Hall of Fame". National Association of Collegiate Directors. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 2013.

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