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'Always had the right words at the right time': Former UNT quarterback remembers slain youth football coach

Tributes surrounding youth football coach and former UNT running back Mike Hickmon have been mounting after he was gunned down while coaching Saturday.

LANCASTER, Texas β€” Sometimes, running on a football field didn't always come easy for former University of North Texas fullback Mike Hickmon

His ex-teammate and quarterback Scott Hall confirmed that Monday afternoon to WFAA. 

"At the end of the summers, we always had a run test, and if you passed, we didn't have to run during two-a-days," Hall said. "Mike was struggling towards the end of it, and I started running backward to motivate him to catch up, and I failed the run test because of that."

Hall laughed; it was the only time he failed a test like that during his entire collegiate career at UNT. But he didn't mind because Hickmon was a teammate he considered a great friend. 

When Hall spoke with WFAA on Monday, that memory is nothing but bittersweet, considering Hickmon was gunned down Saturday evening while coaching a youth football game in Lancaster. 

"To find out he was killed, someone who was part of your life and part of a team you were on, it's still kind of shocking and hasn't quite sunk in all the way," Hall said. 

"It's just a horrible thing."

Per Lancaster PD, opposing coaching staff during the game got into a physical altercation which led to gunfire. 

Hickmon, 43, was shot and killed as a result. 

The sole suspect, 39-year-old Yaqub Talib, was charged with murder in connection to the event. 

Talib booked himself into the Dallas County Jail on Monday afternoon. 

He's the brother of retired NFL cornerback Aqib Talib. Both men were present at the game when the shooting happened. 

Hall couldn't believe the news when he heard it. 

When the two played, Hickmon was older than him and said he was a leader for younger players tackling starting roles. 

"He was a gentle giant and had a lot of great perspectives. He was an outstanding leader to a lot of us younger guys on and off the field," Hall said. 

Credit: DEA Dragons
Mike Hickmon

"He always had the right words at the right time to keep everyone on an even keel. He never got too high, and he never got too low when things were going good, or they were going bad." 

Former voice of the Mean Green, George Dunham, told WFAA that Hickmon had his day in the sun in November of 2002. 

UNT played New Mexico State for the Sun Belt Conference Championship. 

Hickmon played fullback that game but caught two touchdowns and ran one in too. 

Dunham called the game on the radio and said Hickmon was always a standup player and person. 

"He was just a huge part of that day, and I remember being so happy for him, but I also remember how happy his teammates were for him. He really got to shine that day," Dunham said. 

"What happened to him was just senseless. When you're around a football team, those relationships really do live on forever. I was on the periphery but still part of the Mean Green family. I feel terrible for his family and have been so sad about it for the past couple of days." 

What hurts Hall the most: Hickmon died teaching the sport he loved. 

"For his family and kids, it's such a horrible thing," Hall said.

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