Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Keith Wilkes hired as new football coach at Vance

Next Wednesday, Winston-Salem Hall of Fame football coach Keith Wilkes will start at Vance High School.

He hopes to make the Cougars a consistent winner.

“I set high standards for myself,” said Wilkes, 48, who is leaving a job at an Atlanta-area elementary school and will move to Charlotte this weekend. “I want to bring our kids to another level. I’m on the back end of my coaching career and I want to try to get the kids to see there’s more to them than they can see. It’s about getting the kids to believe in themselves, to believe they have a future. You give kids hope, you’ll have a good bunch.”

Wilkes replaces Phil Culicerto who coached Vance in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Vance was 5-7 last season under interim coach Billy Leeson and has only had one winning season in the past five years. Wilkes, part of the 2011 class of the Winston-Salem/Forysth County High School Sports Hall of Fame, built quite a tradition at Winston-Salem Carver.

From 1992-2007, his teams were 139-62-1 with 11 conference titles and state championships in 1998 and 2003. Wilkes was 9-21 at Shiloh High in Snellsville, Ga., for three seasons before resigning last year.z

At Vance, Wilkes said he is excited taking over a program with great potential.

Vance has “always had potential to be a strong program,” Wilkes said. “That’s what I saw, possibilities and potential. Now, it’s about putting hard work and dedication back into the program, from the administration all the way to the community. It could be a good place to work.”

Wilkes’ teams will run the Wing-T offense, a run-heavy offense used by South Mecklenburg and Charlotte Catholic, with a little twist. Wilkes likes to use more spread formations and throw it some.

“I’ve always been known for having a real aggressive program,” said Wilkes, a former All-America offensive lineman at Winston-Salem State, “and we’ll be aggressive from Day One, from working in the weight room and then taking it to the field. You want to call it the new Vance? Well it’s a new era, yes sir, it is.”


Anonymous said...

Vance got it right. Your future looks bright not just on the field, but in the class room and in life for the young men who will play this upcoming season and beyond. I have known Coach Wilkes since college and he is the ultimate motivator, teacher, and mentor for any young man. I witnessed his success at Carver High School as he took them from the bottom to the top as a power house football program. Not to mention the hundreds of young men who have received college scholarships under his leadership, including athletes from Shiloh High School despite their success on the field. These young men are given an opportunity for a future in life. If Vance High School and the community will get behind him and his staff, the sky is the limit. Players have to totally commit to the program, and philosophy he brings; In other words, “Be a Sponge” and soak it all in. You will not be disappointed. Good luck on the upcoming season. The season starts NOW! Congratulation Vance and Coach Wilkes!

Anonymous said...

Coach Wilkes coached my son at Shiloh. (He is one of the ones Coach Wilkes mentored and developed, and who signed to continue playing in college.) As a footnote, in Gwinnett County where Shiloh is located, student, parents, and the community fund high school athletics, versus the county. Schools with the most funding tend to have the consistent winning programs. With limited funding, Shiloh could not maximize its winning potential under Wilkes. Nevertheless, Coach Wilkes brought excellent motivation, development of players, discipline, and toughness to the team. Parents, make sure you feed the linemen since he likes to run to set up the pass. Congratulations!!