Less than 48 hours after winning the Division II National Championship as the offensive coordinator of Colorado State University-Pueblo, Daren Wilkinson was introduced to a jam-packed McCulley Hall as the 10th head coach in Javelina Football history.
Wilkinson has 17 years of experience in coaching in college football, from Division II to Division I. In his last two seasons with the Thunder Wolves of CSU-Pueblo, his teams ranked in the top ten of total offense. In 2013 his Thunder Wolves offense averaged 509.3 yards per contest with 42.7 points per game.
This past season, the Thunder Wolves put up 406.6 yards per game and 35.1 points per contest.
Wilkinson said that he wants to bring the winning tradition back to Kingsville, he noted that it’s going to take hard work in the offseason with a commitment to team football.
“To be able to have the privilege to lead this program, and to be the face of this program it’s an unbelievable honor. I’m excited for that challenge,” Wilkinson said. “It takes a commitment from everybody, in terms of work ethic, in terms of belief and in terms of trust with each other.”
Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and Campus Recreation Scott Gines said that the hiring of Wilkinson is one that has superstar potential written all over it. Gines went on to say that Wilkinson’s strong Division II ties, player development and successful rebuilding experiences were key to hiring Wilkinson.
“I am confident we hired a great fit leader, who’s going to have comprehensive success in the classroom, scoreboard, community and on campus with our fans and donors.” Gines said.
Wilkinson went on to elaborate the importance of playing as a true team. He went on to say that this year’s team will be one that others will be cautious of playing this season.
“I promise you we’re going to play team football, we’re going to play football the way it is meant to be played. We’re going to be the hardest working crew on that schedule. We are going to be tough, we’re going to hit, block and tackle. That’s what football is.” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said that when it comes to changing the attitude with the current team coming off of two straight losing seasons, it’s going to take a total effort from the staff and the players beginning with the new year.
“Championships are not built in August or September, they’re built in January. That’s where the foundation is laid. Getting the team gelled as a unit starting in January In terms of winning games in December when you make a run in the playoffs.” Wilkinson said.
“Being accountable, that’s going to be a huge word our players are going to learn to understand, what it means to be accountable.” Wilkinson added.
Wilkinson’s first game as head coach of the Javelinas will come when they visit San Antonio to take part in a non-conference match up with NCAA FCS member University of the Incarnate Word on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.