Director of Athletics Adam Samson announced on Monday (Aug. 15) that Stephens College has hired veteran softball coach Ed Wilkerson to lead the Stars in 2016-17.
Wilkerson, a native of Jefferson City, Mo., returns to Mid-Missouri after three separate coaching ventures in the state of Kansas. In 16 years as a head coach, Wilkerson has amassed 503 career wins and averaged 31 wins per season.
"Not to be too cliché, but Ed is a home-run hire for us," Samson said. "His experience is second to none, he is well respected in the coaching ranks and he has been successful at every stop. He is going to be an extremely valuable asset for the College and for the softball program."
Wilkerson becomes the Stars' sixth head coach since SC began competing in softball in 2007. He replaces Tracy Dean, who relocated to Baltimore, Maryland this summer, and showed steady improvement in her three seasons at the helm. In 2016, the softball Stars went 9-33, while setting a new benchmark in American Midwest Conference play (7-17) and topping AMC Tournament runner-up Columbia College for the first time ever.
Most recently, Wilkerson served as head athletic trainer at Allen Community College and coached the Red Devil softball team from 2007-2012. ACCC improved its win total in five of his six seasons. In 2010, Wilkerson led the Red Devils to a 39-22 mark and earned Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year honors. Following the banner year, he matched a career-best 41 wins at 41-19 overall.
Prior to Allen Community College, Wilkerson spent five seasons as head softball coach at NCAA Division II Fort Hays State University. He currently ranks first all-time in wins at FHSU with 142 to his name. He also guided the Tigers to their only Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament title and NCAA DII regional tournament appearance in 2003.
His first head coaching stint was at Pratt Community College. In five seasons, Pratt went 173-121 (.589) while winning a Region VI championship and placing seventh at the NJCAA National Tournament in 1999.
At all three institutions, Wilkerson held athletic training positions and was an instructor for athletic training courses. He earned a Master of Science in Physical Education/Athletic Training and worked as an athletic training graduate assistant at the University of Central Missouri. Wilkerson received his Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Outside of softball and athletic training, Ed served in the U.S. Air Force providing post-op care for surgery patients and working in the emergency room at Nellis AFB, NV. He was also an Army National Guard Reservist.