Covell & Brinley Awards

A Davis Tradition Since 1944

Vernard B. Hickey – 1953 (Covell)


Hickey was an influential campus and community figure who came to Davis in 1937 to coach football and golf—and, in addition during the early years, baseball, basketball, water polo and swimming.  He also served as athletic director from 1961 until his retirement in 1967.

One of the first things people noticed about Vern Hickey was his big, strong hands. A former college football star, Aggie coach and Davis mayor, Hickey left a lasting impression with just a handshake.  “The first time I shook hands with him, his hands enfolded my whole arm. He took pride in that,” said retired coach Herb Schmalenberger, who likened Hickey’s hands to those of Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker.   

—President, Rotary Club 1938

—President, Chamber of Commerce 1942–44, Director 1953

—Past Master of Masonic Order, Davis

—Commissioner of water, fire, police

—Chairman, Planning Commission 1950–52

—Chairman, Recreation Commissioner 1948–53

—Mayor, City of Davis 1954–59; Member, City Council 1947–1960  

—Director, Red Cross Swimming Campaigns 1940–41, -50, -51, -52.  Two weeks of volunteer teaching and organizing 250–400 people each year

—First Aid Classes Yolo Co 1951–53; Red Cross Yolo Co. 1953; taught first aid class in David 1951–53 (volunteer)

—Also member of Elks and Sigma Nu

He helped promote good sportsmanship in all sports; has acted as an officer in county and state health and recreation organizations.