North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Hickory Names Two For Key Athletic Staff Positions


HICKORY— Hickory High School has named two people to key posts in athletics, according to press releases from the Hickory Public Schools.

Mike Helms has been named as the new head football coach and Caroline Lovette will be the new athletic director.

Helms, currently a high school counselor at Freedom High School in Burke County, will join the HHS faculty at the end of this school year as both the head football coach and as a school counselor—preparing for the 2013-2014 school year.

Helms most recently served as head coach at Freedom High, leading his team to a school record 12 victories in the 2012 season. He coached there since 2008 and his teams had three consecutive 10-win seasons.

Prior to joining Freedom, Helms served as the head football coach at Northwest Cabarrus. He served in that capacity since 2002 and also served as a school counselor.

Previous coaching experience included serving as an assistant football coach at West Lincoln and as head coach for both West Charlotte High and Cherryville High Schools, as well as serving as head coach for East Burke—where he also served as a guidance counselor.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Coach Helms’ wealth of experience join our coaching team,” said Dr. Ann Stalnaker, principal of Hickory High. “Coach Helms desires to lead an outstanding football team—with the core principles of hard work, dedication and team work contributing to the excellent program here at HHS. We look forward to Helms’ leadership on the field as well as serving our students through his experience as a guidance counselor.”

A graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University with a Masters of Arts in counselor education and a Bachelor of Science in social studies and psychology, Helms also served as a graduate assistant at both Lees-McRae College and Lenoir-Rhyne.

Susan “Caroline” Lovette, a HHS assistant principal, is the school’s new Athletic Director. Lovette is currently working with John Hamilton, the interim athletic director, to transition the duties of the position. Lovette’s role as the new AD is effective at the close of the current school year.

“Caroline Lovette will be an exceptional athletic director,” said Dr. Stalnaker. “We are thankful to have someone of Lovette’s well-rounded experience to lead in this capacity. Her experience covers a broad spectrum including school administration, as well as previously serving as an athletic director, teacher and coach. We are excited about her leadership for our athletic program at Hickory High,” said Stalnaker.

Lovette earned a Bachelor of Science in health/physical education in grades K-12 from Appalachian State University and she earned a Masters of Arts in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University.

Previous experience includes serving as an assistant principal at Fred T. Foard; administrative intern at Northview Middle School; physical education teacher, women’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Alexander Central. In addition, Lovette served as the men’s head basketball coach at North Wilkes where she was the second female in North Carolina to coach men’s varsity basketball.

As a school administrator, Lovette has not only been responsible for the organization of athletics and athletic budgets, but she has been instrumental in addressing student discipline and overseeing school facilities. She facilitated emergency drills and response teams, facilitated and supported the implementation of Common Core and Essential Standards into school curriculum and instruction, created a program to support identified at-risk students and she created and implemented “monitored growth plans” for employees.