300th win at Malakoff High School
By Craig Holamon Index Sports Editor MALAKOFF -- In Malakoff, they call DeArtis Nickerson Jr. "The Dean."
Some fans just call him "Nick" and he
jokingly calls himself "Tiger Jr." but in Mineral Wells, Nickerson
is remembered as a Rams basketball and track star.Nickerson
, who is called "The Dean" because of his
longevity on the Malakoff coaching staff, recorded his
300th win as a head basketball coach on Feb. 7 at MHS
A 57-47 win over the Cross Roads Bobcats gave Nickerson
the milestone victory.Special ceremonies marked the occasion.Nickerson
said the night was special for him and the Nickerson family.
"It was great.It was special getting my 300th win at home.My parents and my sister came down from Mineral Wells.I had a lot of friends who were there and our fans were out in force," Nickerson
"My Dad (DeArtis Nickerson
Sr.) had just had knee surgery, so I didn't think he
would make it to the game but he
was there on crutches," Nickerson said.Nickerson
said much of his
success as a basketball coach stems from his
playing days at Mineral Wells High School
"I give a lot of credit to my coaches, Jackie Harvey and Warren Pruitt.
"Coach Harvey meant everything to me.He
taught me how to be an athlete and a lot about what it means to be a man.
"My basketball coach, Warren Pruitt, helped me grow up and made me a better basketball player," Nickerson
"I owe both of them a lot," Nickerson
Nickerson cut down nets and was honored by school officials during the celebration that followed the win.Nickerson
was presented with a basketball autographed by his
team and a special cake to commemorate the occasion.Hugs and handshakes from friends, family and fans were plentiful.
Nickerson's 300th win helped the Mustangs clinch a state playoff berth for the first time in three seasons.
"It was great to get it (win number 300) at home in front of my family, so many friends and the Malakoff fans.I appreciate everyone's support."
got a lot of support and a measure of respect from his
peers before the night was over.
...Ronnie Snow, who served as an assist to Nickerson in the early 1990s and is presently an assistant principal in the Athens ISD, was also in attendance.
is also credited with bringing a comatose Malakoff track program back to life in the 1980s.
The former MWHS standout is not just a basketball coach.He is also a member of the school football coaching staff, the school's head cross country coach and has served as a middle school principal.Nickerson
, who is proud that he
has delivered five Malakoff commencement addresses, said his
involvement with students is something he
is proud of.
"If I touch one person; you know that's important.I like to lead by example.That's what my daddy instilled in me," Nickerson
only job as a coach has been in Malakoff
has spent the past 16 years building a sensational career record of 300-170.Nickerson
, who is a 1978 Mineral Wells High School graduate, took over as the boys basketball coach in Malakoff
in 1987 and has been there ever since.During his
16 seasons on the sidelines, Nickerson's Tigers have only had two losing seasons.
In 1987 the Mustangs ended the year at 13-17 and in 2000 his
team went 10-15.
In 1999 Nickerson's team had a 26-6 record and reached the Class 2A regional finals.
Nickerson's Tigers won 18 consecutive games during the 1991-92 season and reached the regional semifinals before ending the year at 27-5.His
basketball teams reached the state playoffs five years in a row between 1989 and 1994.
"I guess I've been spoiled because I like going to the playoffs every year.
I've had opportunities to go other places, but it always comes back to Malakoff
said the only place he
would consider coaching outside of Malakoff
is Mineral Wells.
"I've really been blessed in Malakoff
with a lot of great players.But Mineral Wells
is still my hometown.My family lives there.
"I would love to come home and be the basketball coach at Mineral Wells High School
It just hasn't happened," Nickerson
said.Nickerson, who played in the state tournament finals in 1978 as a senior at MWHS, is a member of a honors team in the Mineral Wells Athletic Hall of Fame.