|Position:||Assoc. Head Coach/Running Backs-Special Teams|
|Alma Mater:||Eastern Illinois|
Chris Wilkerson, who became associate head coach in 2007, joined Dartmouth's staff in 2005 as defensive coordinator and coach of the linebackers after spending three seasons at San Jose State University of the Western Athletic Conference. In 2009, he switched roles to oversee the running backs and special teams.
Special teams and running backs certainly have been areas of strength for the Big Green of late. Wilkerson oversaw the punt return team that featured Shawn Abuhoff ’12, who was 14th nationally in yards per return in 2011 and third in 2010 when he returned three punts for touchdowns and earned first-team All-America honors. Abuhoff also was the only sophomore to be named to the All-New England FCS squad in 2009 as a return specialist. Additionally, Dartmouth blocked seven kicks in 2011, six in 2010 and eight in 2009, ranking among the top 10 in the FCS all three years.
On the offensive side of the ball, Wilkerson mentored Dartmouth’s all-time leading ruhser Nick Schwieger ’12, who was the second leading rusher in the country in 2011 and fifth in 2010. Schwieger was also named to the 2011 Associated Press All-America Third Team, All-Ivy First Team three times and All-New England First Team twice, not to mention the 2010 Bushnell Cup winner. The Big Green were also fourth nationally last year in fewest fumbles lost.
During his four years working with the Big Green defenders, three of his players — Josh Dooley '06, Justin Cottrell ’08 and Ian Wilson '08 — joined the ranks of Dartmouth’s all-time leading tacklers and been among the squad’s most honored student-athletes, on the field and in the classroom. Cotrell earned first team All-ivy honors at linebacker in 2007, while Wilson was a second team All-Ivy safety in both 2006 and 2008.
In his first season as the defensive coordinator (2005), the Big Green defense made a worst-to-first improvement in the Ivy League in pass defense and was ranked 14th nationally in the FCS, plus featured first team All-Ivy defensive end Anthony Gargiulo '06.
In 2004, Wilkerson coached San Jose's linebackers and was co-special teams coordinator as the Spartans finished second in the WAC and in the top 20 nationally in pass defense. He was the secondary and special teams coach in 2003 and was a nominee for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. Wilkerson helped the Spartans post their first shutout in 15 years in 2003 when San Jose ranked 11th nationally in kickoff return yardage.
During his first season at San Jose, Wilkerson coached defensive ends and special teams. In 2002 and 2003, the Spartans achieved several national defensive and kicking game statistical rankings.
The Wilkerson family, from left: Charlotte, Sharna, Isabella, Chris and Petyon.
From 1995-2001, Wilkerson coached at his alma mater, Division I-AA Eastern Illinois University. He worked with the special teams during each of his seven years and served as linebackers coach (1997-99, 2001) and worked with the defensive line (1995-96, 2000). He was defensive coordinator in 2001.
Wilkerson's tenure at Eastern Illinois was highlighted by six winning seasons, four trips to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs, and a pair of Ohio Valley Conference championships.
In 2000 and 2001, Eastern Illinois reached the NCAA Division 1-AA playoffs. The 2001 team was ranked third nationally. The Panthers also had NCAA playoff teams in 1995 and 1996. Under Wilkerson, the Eastern Illinois defense and special teams also earned a variety of national statistical rankings.
Wilkerson graduated from Eastern Illinois in 1995 with a degree in physical education. He and his wife, Sharna, have two daughters, Isabella and Charlotte, and a son, Peyton.
Recruiting Area: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin