. Tom Hickman Named Recipient of the 2017 Division I-AAA ADA Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award :: NACDA :: Official Athletic Site
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Tom Hickman Named Recipient of the 2017 Division I-AAA ADA Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award

May 24, 2017

CLEVELAND – Tom Hickman, retired director of athletics from Winthrop University, was selected as the recipient of the DI-AAA ADA 2017 Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award today.

“What a great honor it is to be receiving this award. The fact that it is being given by my peers and colleagues makes it very, very special. It is indeed humbling to join the group of former honorees,” stated Hickman. “I am proud to have been a part of the Division I-AAA ADA and wish to thank them for this honor.”

The award will be presented during the Division I-AAA ADA Membership and Awards Breakfast Meeting sponsored by ARMS Software, LLC, at the 2017 NACDA Convention in Orlando, Florida on Monday, June 12. It is the highest award presented by the Association.

“We are excited to bestow our Association’s most prestigious honor to Tom. As with our previous twelve honorees, he is an individual who personifies what the award represents and fits in extremely well with the tremendous previous recipients,” stated Ken Kavanagh, chair of the Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award Committee and director of athletics at Florida Gulf Coast University. “A valued contributor to our Association’s growth prior to his retirement, he served our profession with distinction for decades, most especially the countless student-athletes and staffers that he worked alongside daily.

Hickman was appointed as the athletics director at Winthrop in July 1996 and served in that role for the next 20 years. When he first arrived on campus in Rock Hill, he served as an associate athletics director in the Eagles’ athletics department for seven years. Prior to Winthrop, Hickman served as the athletics director and chair of physical education and recreation at Ferrum College in Virginia from 1986-89.

The Enfield, North Carolina native is a graduate of Wake Forest University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1970 with a major in health, physical education and recreation. He also received his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Wake Forest in 1974. While pursuing his master’s, he served as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s basketball program from 1970-72.

A longtime member of NACDA, Hickman was heavily involved in college athletics throughout his career. He is a former member on the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, the NCAA Division I Management Council, the NCAA Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee, and the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. He was also very involved in the Big South Conference, serving on multiple committees throughout his tenure at Winthrop, resulting in his induction into the Big South Conference Hall of Fame this year.

Members of the Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award Committee include Division I-AAA athletics directors: Ken Kavanagh, committee chair, Florida Gulf Coast; Peg Bradley-Doppes, Denver; Bob Driscoll, Providence; William Maher, Canisius; Ed McLaughlin, VCU; Mike Roth, Gonzaga; Kim Record, UNCG; Peter Roby, Northeastern; Jim Schmidt, Illinois-Chicago; and Steve Watson, Loyola Chicago.

About Division I-AAA ADA: Now in its 16th year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership, in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. For more information on the Division I-AAA ADA, please visit www.div1aaa-ada.com. The Division I-AAA ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 52nd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit