Betsy Hicks has been watching her husband coach basketball for more than four decades, from Evarts to Harlan to Corbin to Scott County, and in that time she’s missed only a handful of his games.

In late January, when Billy Hicks became the first high school basketball coach in Kentucky to reach 1,000 victories, Betsy figured she had witnessed 990 of them.

A couple of weeks earlier, however, she had witnessed an even more remarkable “first” in her husband’s coaching career.

On Jan. 12, when Scott County was rolling to an 87-57 home-court rout of Ashland Blazer, Billy Hicks left at halftime so he could get to the hospital for the birth of his first grandchild.

“I was shocked, definitely shocked,” Betsy said. “That’s the only time in my life he’s left a ball game. I mean I’ve been on my deathbed before and he still went and coached a ball game.”

There are more important things in life than basketball, even for the winningest coach in state history.

When the Hicks’ daughter and son-in-law — Ashley and Jed Johnson — welcomed a son into the world, Billy and Betsy were there with them.

“To have a grandson is the answer to my prayers,” Billy said.

In the following days, whenever Billy held his grandson he couldn’t control his emotions. It prompted memories of his son Tyler, who played for him at Scott County and led the Cardinals to the 2004 Sweet Sixteen.

William Tyler Hicks died in an automobile accident in 2012 at the age of 27.

The baby is named after him — Wyler (a hybrid of William Tyler) Nash Johnson.

“I kept telling Billy, ‘You can’t cry every time you hug that baby. It’s a good thing,’” Betsy said.

Betsy Hicks has been watching her husband coach basketball for more than four decades, from Evarts to Harlan to Corbin to Scott County, and in that time she’s missed only a handful of his games.

In late January, when Billy Hicks became the first high school basketball coach in Kentucky to reach 1,000 victories, Betsy figured she had witnessed 990 of them.

A couple of weeks earlier, however, she had witnessed an even more remarkable “first” in her husband’s coaching career.

On Jan. 12, when Scott County was rolling to an 87-57 home-court rout of Ashland Blazer, Billy Hicks left at halftime so he could get to the hospital for the birth of his first grandchild.

“I was shocked, definitely shocked,” Betsy said. “That’s the only time in my life he’s left a ball game. I mean I’ve been on my deathbed before and he still went and coached a ball game.”

There are more important things in life than basketball, even for the winningest coach in state history.

When the Hicks’ daughter and son-in-law — Ashley and Jed Johnson — welcomed a son into the world, Billy and Betsy were there with them.

“To have a grandson is the answer to my prayers,” Billy said.

In the following days, whenever Billy held his grandson he couldn’t control his emotions. It prompted memories of his son Tyler, who played for him at Scott County and led the Cardinals to the 2004 Sweet Sixteen.

William Tyler Hicks died in an automobile accident in 2012 at the age of 27.

The baby is named after him — Wyler (a hybrid of William Tyler) Nash Johnson.

“I kept telling Billy, ‘You can’t cry every time you hug that baby. It’s a good thing,’” Betsy said.

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