James Hickam Virginia Strength and Power HoF inductee 2023 (Contributor)

By Strength and Power Hall of Fame


James “Jim” Hickam


Jim Hickam is one of those unique individuals who challenge the status quo. He challenged the antiquated notion that weight training was counterproductive for athletes and eliminated it. In the 1960s, Jim was one of Virginia's first high school football coaches to establish a mandatory weight training program for his athletes. Before that time, coaches were not aware of the tremendous benefits of weight training and actively encouraged their athletes not to lift weights. Like Alvin Roy, Lou Riecke, and Clyde Emrich, the first strength coaches in the NFL, Jim Hickman broke the status quo by winning. His High school teams were bigger, stronger, and faster than the competition. 


Jim was involved in strength and power sports all his adult life, from playing football at VPI in the early 1960s until his retirement in 2011. While coaching football, Jim also conducted and participated in USPF powerlifting meets.  Jim’s high school athletes would also compete in USPF meets. Jim coached and devised the strength program for all his athletes. Jim required his athletes to lift year-round and to show improvement. Jim conducted powerlifting meets for about 30 years and assisted other meet directors, including John Gamble and Bill Dunn, the strength coaches at the University of Virginia. Additionally, Jim competed in bodybuilding and was an approved NPC judge.


Jim was a Virginia State Masters Powerlifting Champion, a very successful high school and college football coach, and a competitive bodybuilder. However, Jim’s primary contribution to strength and power sports is his generational impact. Jim’s contribution to strength and power sports can be seen throughout the United States. Many of his athletes became coaches, powerlifters, weightlifters, and throwers. Today, those athlete’s children and grandchildren continue the weight training tradition Jim started back in the early 1960s. 

Author: By Strength and Power Hall of Fame Completed: yes Created: Tue Sep 12 17:40:48 UTC 2023 | Last Updated: Sat Dec 23 02:39:34 UTC 2023