With several head coaching jobs available in men's college soccer, Medaille College is the first to fill its vacancy.
Medaille Athletics confirmed that Craig Wilkinson, who spent the last three years coaching a prep school in Maine, has been hired to succeed Micky Blythe, removed from the role in November. The announcement was posted to the school's website Thursday.
Prior to his stint at Bridgton Academy, a one-year college preparatory school, Wilkinson served as head coach for Colby-Sawyer College, an NCAA Division 3 program in New Hampshire. In his three years leading the Chargers, he compiled a 33-24-5 record and took the side to three ECAC Tournaments - an invitation-based postseason that targets the top East Coast teams that missed the NCAA Tournament.
Active in the post-high school ranks since 2006, Wilkinson coached in various roles at Dominican College, Concordia University, Francis Marion and Centenary before Colby-Sawyer and Bridgton. He's one of few coaches in America who've coached at two schools nicknamed "Chargers."
Wilkinson will officially begin at Medaille Jan. 14, and he'll have his work cut out for him considering the uncertainty of the Mavericks' roster during this transition. Junior captain Anthony Marafioti just began his first semester at Gannon University, where he'll play with seven other Australia natives, while several other key contributors from the Mavs' 2018 run to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference finals are weighing transfer offers.
One factor working in Wilkinson's favor, particularly in recruiting, will be a facility to call his own: Medaille Sports Complex at Buffalo Color Park, on Elk Street in South Buffalo, is ready to house the Mavericks' lacrosse teams this spring before soccer starts in August. Medaille rented from All-High Stadium at the old Bennett High School for several years before sharing Dobson Field with D'Youville for the last two.
If Wilkinson's recruiting at Colby-Sawyer is any indication as to how he'll construct Medaille's roster, the 2015 Chargers roster comprised almost exclusively players from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York, with just one foreign-born player on the team sheet.
In the broader picture for local college coaching opportunities, the Buffalo State and Daemen College men's jobs remain open.