Seth Wilkerson patrolled the sidelines alongside Buckingham County football legend Craig Gill for 13 years, serving 10 years as Gill’s defensive coordinator.
Now, after two years away from the field, Wilkerson will take over the position held for 20 years by his old friend, who passed away in 2016. The Buckingham County school board approved Wilkerson’s hire as the Knights’ new football coach this week.
“I’m extremely proud to be able to do that,” Wilkerson said of getting a chance to build on Gill’s legacy. “We had one of those relationships where I could look at his face and already knew what he was thinking. He was a good friend.”
Wilkerson steps into the role after two years of former Petersburg coach Josh Wallace leading the program. Wallace’s squad finished 2017 at 5-5 including a four-game win streak after a 24-7 loss to Goochland that closed out the year and included a win over rival Cumberland. The Knights missed the playoffs for the second straight season. The Knights had made the playoffs for seven consecutive years before that.
Wilkerson was a part of five different squads that won 10 or more games during his time as an assistant. That includes a state runner-up finish in 2002 and 2013’s state semifinal run. He’s taken the last two seasons off from coaching.
Wilkerson, a Longwood graduate with a Master’s degree in administration he earned in 2009, was a big part of those seven straight years in the playoffs. While those team’s offenses were incredibly productive with a run that started with Tarian Ayers, continued with Peanut Johnson and Kyree Koonce and continued to Leon Ragland, the defenses were also stout. The 2009 edition led by Taylor Boyers at linebacker surrendered just 9.8 points per game before falling to state runner-up Gretna in the playoffs.
“I’m looking forward to being back on that sideline,” Wilkerson said. “I’ve coached with a lot of great coaches and coached a lot of great players. I know the kids, I know the community. Most of the guys I’ve known since they were in sixth grade and I’m excited to be around them.”
Wilkerson is a physical education teacher at Buckingham Middle currently, and he’s also coached track and middle school basketball while serving as a strength for the football team during his time as an assistant.
He’s first year athletic director Russ Gowin’s second major hire. Gowin hired Taylor Boyers to replace himself as head boys basketball coach back in September. Having Gowin in that spot helped Wilkerson make the decision to return to the field.
“He’s a huge help,” Wilkerson said. “He’s a smart guy, he knows the people and he knows the community.”
Now Wilkerson can turn his attention to retooling the Knights, who are slated to bring a number of key players back next season.
“We’ve got great fans, they’ve always come out and supported us,” Wilkerson said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get this turned around and get this on the right track.”