RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros track & field/cross country head coach Shareese Hicks will be inducted into the Charlotte Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday.
Hicks is part of the seven-member Inaugural Class including Jon Busch, Cedric Maxwell, Corey Nagy, Judy Rose, Dale Halton and Lee Rose that was initially selected to be inducted in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a two-year delay in the ceremony, and Hicks is excited the time has finally come.
“I’m still pinching myself every day. I’m super honored. It means a whole lot that I would even be recognized, let alone be a part of an outstanding Hall of Fame class. The people that I’m in there with , they’re legends,” Hicks said.
Hicks created his own legacy while competing for the Charlotte 49ers from 2003-07. She became the most decorated athlete in track & field history and is considered “the fastest runner (the 49ers) have ever seen.” She is the school record holder in the indoor 200- and 400-meter dashes, and the outdoor 100- and 200-meter dashes.
A four-time USTFCCCA All-America honoree and four-time Atlantic 10 Conference Track Performer of the Year, Hicks led Charlotte to four conference titles and was a multi-recipient of the school’s Athlete of the Year award. She won 15 event titles at conference championships and was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships, claiming six at the 2006 outdoor championships in the 200 and fourth at the 2007 indoor championships, also in the 200.
Despite all of her incredible individual success, Hicks said the memories that stand out the most from her collegiate career are from conference meets and practice because of the teammates and coaches she had by her side.
“Most people would say NCAA because it’s the highest honor, but for me, conference championships are huge because I’m there with the girls and guys on the team. Being on relay teams with those girls and being on award stands with them are the most outstanding memories and what I’ll carry with me forever,” Hicks said.
When her collegiate career ended, Hicks served as Charlotte’s volunteer assistant for two years while training for her professional career. She credited her relationship with 49ers coach Tim Hall for pushing her both as a collegiate athlete and as a professional, and still now as she coaches the sport.
“I had an outstanding coach in Coach Hall. He has coached a crazy amount of NCAA champions and record holders and I was blessed to be under his guidance,” Hicks said. “He saw my potential before I could see it. Being a student of the sport and wanting to get faster, I bought into every single thing he told me to do. To this day he’s always giving me advice on my career, advice on training He’s a real stand-up person that helped me out a whole lot.”
Hicks’ professional career spanned from 2008-15. She burst onto the scene in 2008 by winning gold in the 400-meter dash at her de ella first USA Indoor Nationals, which remains one of her personal favorite de ella performances.
“Hands down, my first USA Indoor Championship was the most special. That was my breakout moment and made me feel like I could be a problem on the national scene,” Hicks said. “That was the first time I was on my own, going up against professionals that I looked up to. Coming out as the winner on that day was just wild. Sometimes at the beginning of the year when we’re transitioning into indoor, I ‘ll show the student-athletes that race and say, ‘Hey, we know what we’re doing. That moment happened for me, and it can definitely happen for you.'”
That same year, she won bronze in the 400 at the World Indoor Championships – Charlotte played a video of her run during a basketball game and she received a standing ovation. In 2008 she won bronze at the WIC with the 4×400-meter relay team.
At the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC), Hicks won gold with USA’s 4×400-meter relay and record-setting 4×100-meter. She also boasts silver medals in the 200 from NACAC Championships and in the 4×100 relay from the Pan American Games.
Hicks was a finalist in the 400 at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials.
Hicks’ collegiate and professional career influences the way she attacks being the head coach at UTRGV. Her experiences of her allow her to anticipate what her student-athletes will need and gives her a way to connect with and motivate them. Just as she strived to go above and beyond, to never settle and constantly try to break down walls as an athlete, she’s aiming to do the same with and for the Vaqueros.
In 2019, Charlotte honored Hicks for the first time with a jersey retirement. Her her Hall of Fame banner now hangs in Halton Arena. When her induction ceremony finally begins at 6 pm Friday, she said it’ll hit her just how monumental and well-deserved all of her de ella recognition de ella is de ella.
“I thank God all the time for the path that I’ve been blessed to take. I’m still like, ‘Man, little old me, really?'” Hicks said. “I’m blessed to have a great support system. I was raised by a military mom and a correctional officer father. They’re dreamers just like I am, and their belief and discipline was a perfect recipe for all the tools that I used to make it as far as I did in the sport. I thank my family, my friends, Coach Hall. And last but not least, that UNC-Charlotte team. Going to practice every day made the track meets easier. Lining up next to My teammates were spectacular. I did not fear anybody because my teammates were the hardest competitors that I ever had to go up against.”
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