Football: Brian Wilkinson Will Not Return as Pinelands Head Coach
Brian Wilkinson was informed Wednesday that his contract as a history teacher in the Pinelands Regional School District will not be renewed for the 2017-2018 school year. Without a teaching position in the district he will not be returning as the Wildcats head football coach, he confirmed to Shore Sports Network.
Wilkinson received a letter in April stating his position would not be renewed, and from there he requested a Donaldson hearing, which allowed him to present his case to the board of education to convince the board to overrule the superintendent's recommendation. Wilkinson's hearing was on Monday, May 1, and today he received his letter from interim superintendent Dr. Maryann Banks that the board did not vote to overrule her recommendation and that his last day of employment in the district will be June 30.
"I am disappointed to say the BOE has voted to accept Superintendent Banks' recommendation to let me go from my job at Pinelands," Wilkinson posted to his Facebook page. "I'm disappointed the Board didn't see the value in what I try to offer the students in our program."
The decision not to renew Wilkinson’s teaching position is based on the recommendation of Banks, who was hired in June of 2016 and has a contract that expires on June 30, 2017. Wilkinson was scheduled to receive tenure Sept. 1.
Wilkinson was hired by former superintendent Robert L. Blake, who at the time said in a statement that “Wilkinson’s coaching experience plus his commitment to excellence and his knowledge of the game make him a perfect fit to rebuild our high school’s football program.”
Wilkinson was hired prior to the 2013 season and left his job as a tenured teacher in the Toms River Regional School District where he worked for 15 years. He was previously the head coach at Toms River South and an assistant at Toms River East. He arrived at Pinelands at a low point for the Wildcats’ football program and has brought it back to respectability. Pinelands had a 21-game losing streak, including consecutive winless seasons in 2011 and 2012, and routinely lost games by 30 points or more. Last season, Wilkinson’s fourth at the helm, Pinelands went 4-6 and was competitive in every game.
"I hope the BOE finds a coach that loves the sport of football, not a coach that sees football as his "2nd sport" or just another stipend," Wilkinson wrote. "It is my hope they find a person that works hard in the offseason to make themselves the best football coach they can be, as that is what these kids deserve."
"Thank you for all those that have supported me throughout my career at Pinelands. I've taken from Pinelands relationships that I will cherish forever."
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