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Hixon eager to continue winning tradition at Pike

Pike Liberal Arts alum Rush Hixon is heading back to his former school as head baseball coach. The announcement was made official on Tuesday evening. A week later, the new head coach is still letting it all sink in.

“Excitement is the first word that comes to mind,” Hixon said. “I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity. I’ve always wanted to be a coach. I didn’t think it would come this quick, but I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity. Can’t wait to get started.”

Hixon graduated from PLAS in 2015. In his time at Pike Liberal Arts, he learned about the Patriot Family and what it means to be a Patriot.

“I take great pride in the school,” Hixon said. “For me, it’s home. They have done everything for me when I was a student and in my life after. They always welcome me back with open arms. It’s a place I can call home and it’s a place I find comfort in. When they talk about the Pike Family, it’s really a true statement.”

In his time at Pike Liberal Arts, Hixon and the Patriots won their first-ever AISA state championship in 2012.

The winning tradition at Pike Liberal Arts is one of the many things that Hixon loves about the school.

“It’s become a standard to win championships at Pike,” Hixon said. “The baseball program, recently has had the most success. The football team had success winning in 2008 and 2009. The basketball team just came off a runner up finish. Everyone up there has a high standard of winning. Every year the goal is a championship. I am surrounded by people who want to win.”

The former AISA All-Star now has the ability to help the next wave of Patriot players.

Before joining the Patriots, Rushing has spent the last few summers coaching the local American Legion Post 70 19U baseball team.

Hixon believes his time as a summer coach has helped him get prepared for his first stint as a full-time head coach.

“It kind of came at me fast,” Hixon said. “Coaching in the summer has prepared me to get to this point. In my six years of summer ball, I have had some good coaches grooming me. I owe John Rushing a ton of credit for making me a coach at the age of 17.

Hixon will be taking over the team after former head coach Allen Ponder became the new coach at Pike Road.

In the abbreviated 2020 season the Patriots started the season 14-1. Hixon’s goal for 2021 is to pick up right where the Patriots left off.

“We want to build on the tradition that is already there,” Hixon said. “The goal every year is to win a state championship. ”