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Assistant Football Coach
(615) 453-6357
Football Athletic Training Building
Athletic Department
M.A., Gannon University
B.S., Kentucky Wesleyan College

Brad Higginson is entering his first season with Cumberland as the linebacker coach for the Phoenix Football Program. He comes from Manchester University where he spent the past twelve seasons as an assistant football coach. During his time with Manchester, he had the roles of Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs Coach, Linebacker Coach, and Defensive Line Coach. He has mentored two NCAA Division 3 All-Americans and 26 All-HCAC Players for 40 All-HCAC selections. While at Manchester, the Spartans had some of the best teams in school history with multiple 6-4 finishes. Higginson coached 5 Spartans that would break records while at Manchester.
Prior to Manchester, Higginson was a Graduate Assistant Coach at NCAA Division 2 Gannon University. During his time with the Golden Knights, he coached the Defensive Backs in 2007 and the Corners in 2008. While coaching the Golden Knights, Higginson had one PSAC-West All-Conference selection in the secondary.
Higginson’s playing career was at Kentucky Wesleyan College where he was a four-year starter for the defense as a Free Safety and a honorable mention All-American. He finished his career with the Panthers ranked 6th in Interceptions and 7th in Passes Defended. He holds the single game record of 21 tackles against Campbellsville in 2003 and is also in the top 10 for his efforts against Bacone in 2005.  Higginson also tallied 5 interceptions in 2004 which makes him 10th in single-season rankings. He completed his career with 171.5 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 10 total interceptions in a total of 39 games played. During his time with KWC, Higginson also competed for two years with the basketball program.
Higginson is a native of Poseyville, IN and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer information Systems from Kentucky Wesleyan College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Gannon University. Higginson and his wife Sydney live in Lebanon, TN.


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Head Wrestling Coach
(615) 547-1292
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Athletic Department
B.A., Campbellsville University

James Hicks begins his fifth season as head coach at Cumberland in 2019-20 after serving three years in the same capacity at Darton State College in Albany, Ga.

Hicks led the Phoenix to the Mid-South Conference Tournament championship in his first year at the helm of the program, tying for the team title for the program’s first-ever MSC title. For his efforts he was voted Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year. Sammy Rosario, Nate Croley, Orlando Nawade, Kyle Delaune and Dustin Harris all earned Second Team All-Mid-South honors and Croley went on to garner All-America accolades at 157.

In addition eight student-athletes were named Academic All-Mid-South Conference and Peter Donchev and Nick Paden were recognized as NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Last season two athletes recieved All-America honors – Anothony Maia and Nathan Walton. Maia reached the national tournament semifianls and Walton reached the seventh pplace event.

In 2016-17, three student-athletes earned All-America honors for the Phoenix – Rosario, Croley and Delaune – tying for the most All-Americans in a single season in program history. Croley was voted Second Team All-Mid-South while nine athletes were named Academic All-Mid-South and Matt Carroll, Evan Cole and Peter Donchev were reconized as NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Hicks produced two national champions and six junior college All-Americans during his three seasons at Darton State. The Belle Glade, Fla., native was named Region III Eastern District II Coach of the Year in each of the last two seasons for the Cavaliers and the team won the Eastern District II Championship in both campaigns as well.

Twenty-two wrestlers qualified for the NJCAA national tournament over his three years, including nine in 2015 and eight in 2014. The team finished in the Top 25 at the national tourney all three seasons, including 14th in 2015 and 17th in 2014. Darton State also placed third each of his last two years in the non-scholarship division of the NJCAA National Championships. In addition, five wrestlers garnered Academic All-America honors under Hicks’ tutelage.

Hicks served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Campbellsville University, for four years, with the Tigers placing in the Top 7 at the NAIA Championship in three of those campaigns. Campbellsville won the East Region Qualifier in his final season as an assistant in 2012 and finished in the Top 5 at the NWCA National Duals in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Tigers also won the Mid-South Conference regular season title in each of his last three years with the program.

During his time as an assistant coach, Campbellsville produced a pair of national champions, 19 NAIA All-Americans, 47 national qualifiers, 10 East Region champions, 17 Mid-South Conference champions and seven NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Hicks was a three-time NAIA national qualifier and a Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete during his wrestling career at Campbellsville as well as a three-year starter for the Tigers. He was a member of the 2006 NAIA National Championship club at Dana College in Blair, Neb., ranking as high as sixth nationally and receiving the team’s Freshman of the Year award. He placed fourth as a senior at the FHSAA State Championships for Glades Central High School.

Hicks received his bachelor’s in Physical Education from Campbellsville in 2009.



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Head Athletic Trainer
(615) 453-6363
Main Athletic Training Building
Athletic Department, Athletic Training Preceptors
The Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing Health Professions Athletic Training Preceptors
B.S., University of North Florida
M.S.E.S., Cumberland University

Sara Farris begins her fourth year at Cumberland University and her second as a full-time member of the Athletic Training staff. She provides coverage for women’s volleyball and baseball. Farris has also covered football and wrestling at CU as a Graduate Assistant.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native graduated from the University of North Florida in May 2016, earning her bachelor’s in Athletic Training. While at UNF she gained clinic experience with the football, soccer, basketball and volleyball teams at Creekside High School, providing first aid during games and implementing return-to-play protocol for concussed athletes. During undergrad, Farris also worked with the baseball team at Jacksonville University, UNF women’s soccer team and gained experience with the soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse and track and field teams at The Bolles School.

 She also gained experience with the soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse and track and field teams at The Bolles School, evaluating upper and lower extremity injuries, facilitating rehabilitation and stretching techniques and administering baseline Impact testing for spring sports.

Farris completed her master’s in Sports Management at Cumberland in May 2018.

Farris resides in Lebanon with her new puppy Siler.




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PT Associate Broadcasting Director
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Athletic Department

Thomas Denney begins his first year as Associate Broadcasting Director at Cumberland.

Denney will be responsible for broadcasting all home sporting events, working closely with the radio and video teams. 

Denney has spent the last 11 years working as a videographer at Cumberland for the home football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s volleyball. He has also undertook broadcasting audio, and video with Lebanon High School football. Denney is employed full-time at System Integrations, working with various audio and video products.

He and his wife have been married for 13 years.



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Head Cheerleading Coach
(615) 305-6781
Bone Hall
Athletic Department
A.A., Ruthledge College

Ruth Currie begins her 10th season as the cheerleading coach at Cumberland University and has taken on the added responsibility of dance team coach for a fourth year.

Currie came to CU with more than 15 years of cheer coaching experience in the Middle Tennessee area, most recently serving as the Cheer Director for UNA Bears Recreation Park, where her competition cheerleading squad qualified for Nationals.

Prior to taking over as the Cheer Director, Currie spent seven years as a coach for three squads from ages five to 14.

Currie has also served as the Cheerleading President of the Mid-State Youth Football and Cheerleading League for the last nine years.

Her squad placed first at the UCA Panama Beach Cheer Competition in 2002 and earned awards for Best Cheer, Dance, Stunts and Overall Floor Routine Choreographer at the national competition in 2003. She has also coached the UNA Elite MSYFCL champions eight times.



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Head Womens Soccer Coach
(615) 453-6332
CU Soccer Field
Athletic Department
B.A., Bryan College
M.A.T., Trevecca Nazarene University

Scott Davidson joined the Cumberland women’s soccer coaching staff as a full-time assistant in March 2018.

Davidson spent the last year serving as head coach for Nashville Rhythm FC in the Women’s Premier Soccer League as well as serving as Age Group Director and Lead Coach for the Nashville United Soccer Academy. He was also the Assistant Executive Director/Director of Coaching for the Williamson County Soccer Association for one year.

He worked the 2015 season as an assistant men’s coach and goalkeeper coach at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga., assisting with team and individual workouts as well as recruiting. The Lions earned a berth in the NCCAA National Tournament that season, finishing the year 7-9-3 overall.

Davidson spent the 2014 campaign as assistant men’s coach at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., serving as camp director as well as leading recruiting for the Bears.

He worked two years as a graduate assistant for the women’s program at Trevecca University, helping the Trojans improve from 4-11-2 in 2010 to 8-8-2 the following season. Davidson also spent two years as an assistant for the men’s team at Bryan College, with the Lions registering marks of 12-4-2 and 11-8-0 in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

The Newarthill, Scotland, native played collegiately at Bryan College, scoring 23 goals with six assists as a senior to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors. The Lions compiled a 49-26-3 mark during his four seasons in Dayton.

Davidson played professionally with the Sioux Falls [SD] Spitfires (2007) and Spokane [WA] Spiders (2008) as well as two years with the Nashville Metros (2009-10). He also spent time with Albion Rovers FC Youth (1998-99), Hamilton Academicals FC (2000-02) and Lanark United (2003) in his native Scotland before enrolling at Bryan.

He received his bachelor’s in Communications from Bryan College in 2008 and earned a master’s in Teaching K-6 from Trevecca in 2013. He has earned USSF National “D” and “E” coaching licenses as well as Goalkeeping Levels I and II from United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA). He has also received a Director of Coaching Diploma and Advanced National Diploma from the USC.




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Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Phoenix Plaza
Athletic Department
B.S., Georgia Southern University
M.Ed., University of Akron

Austin Dillard begins his first season as the Director of Sports Performance at Cumberland University. Dillard oversees the sports performance department that provides strength and conditioning programs for all Phoenix athletes.

Dillard comes to Cumberland after serving the last two years as a graduate assistant strength coach at the University of Akron. With the Zips, Dillard implemented a training program for the baseball team while also training men’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s swim and dive, and track and field. He oversaw the strength and conditioning interns and the scheduling with each coaching staff.

He earned his master’s degree in sport science and coaching from Akron in May 2021.

Prior to Akron, Dillard worked as a volunteer strength coach at Georgia Southern University primarily working with the football team. He helped with the strength program, the injured/return to play protocol, nutrition program as well as helped with the Georgia Southern Pro Day training. Dillard coordinated the weight room cleaning and maintenance. 

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology with a major in exercise science and a minor in nutrition from Georgia Southern in May 2018.

Dillard has his certified strength and conditioning specialist certification as well as a precision nutrition level 1 certificate.



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Assistant Athletic Director
(615) 547-1291
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Athletic Department
B.S., Cumberland University
M.B.A., King University

Shelia Crockett joined Cumberland in June 2020 as Assistant Athletic Director at Cumberland University. Crockett has spent the last 17 years at King University. Crockett is responsible for managing all aspects of eligibility compliance and academics, including education, monitoring, and enforcing NAIA and Mid-South Conference Rules.

For the past 10 years, she has served as an Assistant Athletic Director and the Senior Woman Administrator at King. She has served on numerous committees. She is the Chair of the Gender Equity Committee and is a member of the Wellness Strategic Planning Committee.  At the conference level, she is currently a member of the Conference Carolinas Enhancement Committee. 


Prior to moving into the role of Assistant Athletic Director, Crockett started out as the first full-time athletic trainer at King in 2002 where she built the athletic training program from the ground up. She implemented “Return to Learn” and “Return to Play” concussion protocol. She has a LAT and ATC license in the state of Tennessee.

Crockett played basketball at Cumberland in the early 1990s for Coach Walters. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis on sports medicine from Cumberland in 1997. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from King in 2005. 



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E-Sports Head Coach
(615) 547-1212
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Athletic Department
B.S., Kentucky Wesley College
M.S., Cumberland University

Spencer Claypool begins his first year as head coach in Esports at Cumberland and will participate in his inaugural season in the fall of 2021.

Claypool will have the opportunity to start the program from the ground up. Cumberland will compete in a wide number of different game titles. The following represents some of the most popular game titles played at NACE institutions: League of Legends, Overwatch, Smite, Paladins, Hearthstone, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, FIFA, NBA2k, and Madden. CU will choose exactly which games the Phoenix will participate in at a later date.

Cumberland plans to pave a path for the Middle Tennessee area in the Esports community. There are currently only four other universities that offer Esports, but none in the Middle Tennessee region: East Tennessee State University, King University, Bethel University, and Milligan University.

Claypool spent four years at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky. where he held several positions around campus. He spent time as a Resident Assistant, Student Ambassador, Student Admissions Counselor, a member of the Football team, and an Athletic Trainer.

During his time at Cumberland as a Graduate assistant in the sports information office, Claypool handled the responsibilities of the day-to-day reporting on athletics teams including game notes and stories, game and season stats, and postgame information. He assisted in handling all of the department’s weekly and gameday social media graphics as well as managing social media accounts. Claypool also created web and advertising graphics for and created gameday programs for several sports.

He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College in April of 2019 and graduated from the master’s program for Exercise and Sports Science at Cumberland in 2021.