Brian Wilkinson wanted a second shot at being a head football coach in the Shore Conference and he got it last night in what was probably an unlikely place for him until recently. 

Brian Wilkerson (courtesy Brian Wilkerson)

Wilkinson was named the head coach at Pinelands Regional where he’ll l take over a program that has gone two straight years without a win. He replaces Sean DeRosa who was 24-66 in nine seasons with the Wildcats before stepping down after last year.

The 43-year old Wilkinson was the head coach at his alma mater, Toms River South; from 2001-2007 and during that tenure he guided the Indians to a divisional title and three appearances in the State Playoffs.  He spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Toms River East and was the Raiders defensive coordinator last fall.

Pinelands Athletic Director Will Sundermann said in a press release that some 25 candidates were interviewed for the head coaching position over the past two months before Wilkinson moved to the top of the list and became the choice of the selection committee.  The new coach will quickly begin the task of putting together a coaching staff and will meet with players following next week’s spring break.

Nelson Ribon presents Gerry White Sportsmanship Award to Point Beach boys coach Nick Catania (Townsquare Media NJ)

It may be hard for me to seem impartial because Brian is a good friend although frankly I’m tired of losing to him in our Fantasy Baseball League each season.  Maybe now that he’s a head coach again he’ll lose his focus on the fantasy league and allow someone else to win it.  Anyway “Wilky” clearly deserves an opportunity to run his own program again and I think Pinelands made a great choice.   The Wildcats will take a 21-game losing streak into their September 14th season opener at perennial power Lacey.

Nobody really likes basketball officials because even the really good ones make calls that coaches, players and fans disagree with.  However while you may not always like the men and women in black and white stripes on the court you’ll find off the court that as a group they’re pretty nice people.  I say that after serving as Master of Ceremonies for Shore Board #194 who last night held their annual banquet at The Breakers in Spring Lake.

Point Boro girls basketball coach Dave Drew receives the Gerry White Sportsmanship Award from Nelson Ribon, Secretary-Treasurer
of IABBO Shore Board #194 (Townsquare Media NJ)

It was a really nice program which saluted many of their own as well as area high school teams, including the Lakewood, Point Beach and Long Branch boys and the girl’s teams from Point Boro, Red Bank Catholic, Point Beach and Monmouth Regional.  Among the individuals honored were officials Pat McGaheran, Jack Bush and Tom Lopes and record-setting Richard Stockton coach Gerry Matthews.

Special thanks to banquet co-chairs George Fixter and Mike Fogarty who had the guts to give me the microphone.  Hope to do it again!