BREAKING NEWS: Willis returning home to coach Hickory varsity boys

Published Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

He is leaving The Citadel as associate

head coach to work at his alma mater


HICKORY – Daniel Willis — one of Catawba County’s top all-time high school basketball players — is coming home.

Willis, an associate head coach at The Citadel, had a physical education teaching position approved on Monday night by the Hickory City Schools Board of Education.


He will become the 10th head varsity boys’ basketball coach at Hickory High, his alma mater, since the late 1970s.

Willis will fill a coaching position left open by Andy Poplin, who resigned after seven seasons at HHS to become head varsity boys’ basketball coach at A.L. Brown.

Willis was not immediately available for comment.

Hickory went 158-40 under Poplin, winning three conferences titles with three teams finishing second and one finishing third.

The Red Tornadoes finished 22-6 last season, winning 20 or more games for the sixth straight year, and they were 9-3 in the Northwestern 3A-4A to finish second.

Willis starred in basketball at Lenoir-Rhyne University from 1997-2001. He scored 1,980 points and at that time was the South Atlantic Conference’s all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball (now No. 2 at LRU, No. 3 all-time in the SAC).

As a college coach, Willis has also worked at Virginia Military Institute, Western Carolina and Tusculum.



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