New Brenau Competitive Shooting Coach Ed Fickey Begins Recruiting for 2017-2018 Season
Brenau University Athletic Director Mike Lochstampfor announced this week Ed Fickey as the university’s new competitive shooting head coach.
Fickey, who already works part-time at Brenau as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business & Mass Communication, has coached youth shotgun sports at Cherokee Gun Club in Gainesville for decades.
“I started teaching at Brenau about three years ago, and soon the conversation followed about coaching,” Fickey said. “I’ve coached local middle and high school kids for years, and I wondered, ‘Would Brenau ever consider it?’”
The creation of a competitive shooting team is not unusual in the region. Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia, started a clay target shooting team, and Fickey’s son helped grow a fledgling team at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina into a national competitor.
“It’s a great sport and an Olympic sport,” Fickey said. “It’s a sport that requires some athleticism and a great deal of critical thinking. It’s a mind game more than anything, and it’s about response. It has a physical aspect, but it is also something you can do for the rest of your life.”
Fickey said the No. 1 shooter on his youth team is female, an increasing trend in the sport. These young women hope to take their skill to college, and opportunities to do so are currently limited.
Fickey said the percentage of women involved in the sport has increased substantially over the years. “Women are saying, ‘I can shoot, too. I can compete,’” he said. “That makes sense. It’s not a question anymore of why, but why not?”
There are three disciplines in collegiate clay target shooting: trap, skeet and sporting clays. There are also international skeet and international trap disciplines, which vary slightly in difficulty from the American versions.
All three disciplines involve shooting clay pigeons. In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single machine far from the shooter. In skeet shooting, targets are launched from two machines on either side of the shooter in intersecting paths. Meanwhile, sporting clays includes a more complex course with many launch points.
The university has an arrangement with Cherokee Gun Club for squad practices next year. A shotgun squad typically has four team members, and Lochstampfor said Fickey will begin recruiting immediately for the 2017-18 season. The competitive shooting season begins in spring and ends with a national competition in mid-summer.
“At the collegiate level, we’ll look at people who are going to be able to start from a high school level,” Fickey said. “And we’ll fine tune them to be able to compete on a regional and national collegiate level as well.”
Fickey said thousands of high school students in Georgia currently practice competitive shooting sports. “These are good students, good athletes and many of them would make great students at Brenau.”