After one season, Centennial boys’ basketball coach Tyler Hickman is trading one set of Cougars for another this coming season. He accepted the boys’ coaching position at Clarksville Academy last week and will also serve as the school’s new chief financial officer.
Hickman said the decision to move just one season after returning to Centennial – where he served as an assistant to Pete Froedden for three seasons and eventually succeeded him – was one that “was right for my family.”
“I love Centennial with all my heart … I bleed baby blue,” Hickman said. “This is just one of those things you don’t see coming, but with my accounting background, it’s the right situation for my career and my family.
“We have prayed about this and it’s an opportunity we can’t pass up.”
Clarksville Academy’s Matt Wallace resigned in May as head boys’ basketball coach and as the school’s CFO. Hickman will take over both positions.
“I believe in the leadership there and they are doing some great things,” Hickman said. “You’re not going to get that Williamson County basketball and I’ll miss that for sure, but I think Clarksville is a basketball town with a lot of resources and moving pieces.”
Hickman’s new team could still make appearances in the area by sharing the Division II-A Middle Region with the likes of Battle Ground Academy – where Hickman served as an assistant for the 2018-19 season – and Grace Christian Academy among others. Clarksville Academy produced back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2017 and 2018 before closing with an 18-12 record last season.
Hickman guided Centennial to a fast start by winning nine of 11 games to open last season before getting into the meat of the tough District 11-AAA where the Cougars produced a 9-7 mark to finish tied with Franklin for fourth in the league standings.
The Rebels went on to end Centennial’s season in the first round of the district playoffs with a 71-65 win at Franklin. Centennial finished with a 16-12 mark.
Hickman said this year’s Cougars will look similar to Franklin with a “two-headed monster” in rising seniors Patrick Garrett and Ben Brown.
“We meshed really early last year and couldn’t quite find that right formula late,” Hickman said, noting Centennial’s seven seniors from the 2019-20 squad. “It’s a special group there with a bunch of underclassmen coming into the picture. Losing June basketball this year, I was most disappointed to not see where those 10 sophomores and juniors found roles.”
Hickman hails from Memphis originally and attended Harding Academy before graduating from Lipscomb. He and his wife Hope have a young son, Isaiah.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the a…
“I have been pretty torn up about this and without having a normal year, it’s been harder in a way,” Hickman said. “The love and relationships we were able to build was special. I love the kids in the program here (at Centennial).”
Hickman’s hiring last year came on the heels of Froedden’s release despite being named the district’s coach of the year. The school briefly hired coach Miquel Coleman, who later backed out of the position shortly after being announced as the new coach, and Hickman was hired near the end of the tumultuous May.
The head coaching position is currently the only one available in the district.