Fresh out of college with a degree in biology, Kevin Higgins couldn’t find a job in his field. He decided to go back to school, eventually earning his doctorate in education, and went into teaching and coaching.
Higgins went on to serve as a wrestling coach for 22 years at Sequoyah and Creekview high schools, became the winningest coach in county history with 291 dual-meet victories and led Sequoyah to Class AAAA state titles in 1996 and ’99.
Nine times, Higgins’ teams finished the season among the top 10 in the state. He coached 13 wrestlers to state titles and 46 to region titles.
Higgins was named the Georgia High School Association Coach of the Year four times, the USA Wrestling Coach of the Year once and the Cherokee Tribune Wrestling Coach of the Year a record 11 times.
For all of his contributions to wrestling in Cherokee County, Higgins will be inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame on Friday. He is one of four members of the class of 2013.
“It is a tremendous honor,” Higgins said. “There are a lot of good folks in there who have done a lot of good. To be associated with that group is a tremendous honor.”
Higgins, who is originally from Ohio, moved to Georgia to get away from the cold winters after college.
“I spent too many days as a youth shoveling snow, so as soon as I could, I got out of Ohio,” he said.
Higgins currently lives in Ball Ground with his family and serves as the athletic director at Creekview.
The longtime coach said it was hard to step off the wrestling mat and into the athletic office.
“I miss that time with the kids in practice after school,” he said. “There are a lot of aspects that I miss.”
He hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching, especially as his son, Wyatt, grows up.
“I love coaching,” he said. “I want to stay involved, especially with my son coming up through the program. Whether it is doing some extra work in the morning with guys that want to get extra time in, or doing clinics here and there, I think I will try to keep involved and keep passing that information along to young guys and watching them grow.”
Alongside Wyatt Wilkie, Higgins helped form the wrestling program at Creekview.
“That was a lot of fun,” Higgins said. “I was able to come up here and co-coach with Wyatt Wilkie, who actually wrestled for me back in the late 1990s at Sequoyah. So being able to work with some body that you coached is a tremendous pleasure.”
Higgins also coached Tyrom Brown, an assistant at Creekview, at Sequoyah.
“To be able to help mold them and shape the program has been a lot of fun,” Higgins said.
Higgins, who wrestled and played football in high school, said all of his coaches had an impact on his life. He wanted to contribute similarly.
“I think every coach I had has influenced me in one way or another, and I draw on all those influences,” he said.
As a wrestler, Higgins won an NCAA Division III national championship in 1989 for Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.
He’s also proud of helping other wrestlers extend their careers into college. Several, including Wilkie, Carrington Banks, Bradley Banks and Joe Hulen, went on to achieve considerable success at the collegiate level.