Posted: 8:42 pm Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Interim Seminole Ridge football coach Justin Hilliker turns down full-time offer 

By Jeff Greer

Seminole Ridge had its guy right on campus.

Justin Hilliker, the chief assistant under the school’s first and only football coach Matt Dickmann, was the shoo-in to replace Dickmann when he accepted a coaching position in Georgia. When Dickmann announced he was leaving, Hilliker became the interim head coach. Many around the program believed it was only a matter of time before he lost the interim tag.

On Wednesday, Hilliker told the Post he’d turned down the full-time offer, opting instead to take a year off from coaching to spend more time with his family. The decision comes as a surprise to the Ridge community, as Hilliker, 35, was the most prominent name involved in Seminole Ridge football after Dickmann. Hilliker said he informed school administrators of his decision in recent days.

Seminole Ridge Athletic Director Scott Parks said the application process for the head coaching position would close on Friday. Sources say the school has already received scores of applications, including many from out of state. Parks hoped to begin the interview process sometime next week.

Ridge started its football program in 2005, with Dickmann and Hilliker leading the way. The Hawks traveled a long road to 2012, becoming permanent playoff fixtures. They reached their first regional final this past season, though they’re graduating most of their defensive starters.