PORT TOWNSEND - Former Ilwaco teacher and girl's basketball coach Russ Hickman was asked to leave his post as Port Townsend (PT) boy's basketball coach last week by their board of education following an incident at a recent game involving his team, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

The board's decision was based on an incident where Hickman sat out a portion of the game in protest of one of his players calling a timeout. The action was part of "off and on, on-going problems on the coaching end," according to School Board Chairman Loren Monroe.

Hickman refused to send the requested letter of resignation. However, a former girl's coach at PT has been assigned coaching duties for the varsity boy's team by the board for the remainder of the season. Port Townsend had a 1-11 under Hickman.

Hickman's being replaced as coach precipitated a "sickout" by 35 PT high school teachers Jan. 25, as they felt he was not given due process by their board. School was canceled for juniors and seniors and underclassmen were provided with study time in the school's library for the day. Classes resumed Wednesday with all 35 teachers back and no action anticipated against the teachers according to the PDN.

Hickman's tasks as a teacher and athletic director were not affected, according to the PT school board.

Hickman's time at Ilwaco High School in the late 1990s followed a similar course. Popular with many parents and fellow teachers, he was a controversial figure on the basketball court. He departed voluntarily for Port Townsend in 1999.

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