Wilkes’ father coached for 30 years in north Georgia, so when the Adairsville boys head coaching position opened up, Wilkes jumped at the opportunity, and Monday, the school board approved Wilkes as the Tigers’ new head coach.
“I’m very excited. Going around, looking at everything, there’s some of the best facilities that I’ve seen — two gyms and a brand new middle school. Basketball has a chance to be very successful, so a lot of great things here and I’m excited to get the chance,” Wilkes said. “[Coaching] is what I’ve always known. It’s what I always did. My father [Charles Wilkes] coached all over the state at different places, won a state championship at Madison County in . I’ve kind of learned from him over the years. It’s in my blood to coach and it’s what I like to do. I don’t really have any hobbies. Basketball is my hobby. I love it.”
The 33-year-old Wilkes was the head coach for two seasons at Wheeler County and for one year at Toombs. He was most recently the middle school, JV and assistant varsity coach at Long County.
“He had a lot of excitement. He had a good energy about him. We think our boys will respond to him,” Athletic Director Meredith Barnhill said of Wilkes’ interview. “He seemed to have a lot of the values that we have. Kids are going to act right. Kids are going to do what they have to do in the classroom. They’re going to work hard on the basketball court, so that was a good fit for the school and the basketball program.
“We had some good candidates, but he just seemed like the best fit for the school and the basketball program.”
Wilkes said he has family in the area, one of the many reasons he was interested in the Adairsville coaching position.
“I’ve always wanted to move back to north Georgia, coming from Madison County, which is above Athens,” Wilkes said. “We come through here all the time. We trout fish in the mountains. I wanted to get closer to that. My wife has family that lives in Cartersville. Her mother actually lived in Cassville for about five or six years, so I’m fairly familiar with the area. [Adairsville High Principal Bruce] Mulkey actually coached my sister and coached with my dad. The way he talks of the school and being a great area, we always loved it when we came up here to visit my mother-in-law. Basketball around Atlanta is where it’s at right now, so get up here and get a little closer to where the action is.”
Wilkes will teach special education and co-teach some math courses at Adairsville High in addition to his coaching responsibilities.
On the court, he says he would like his team to play at a fast pace.
“I would like to go fast if possible. We would like to get out and run, some fast breaks. I would like a read-and-react motion offense,” he said. “It depends on what your opponents are doing and what each player does. Last year, they did a set-type motion and I want to do a read and react. I would like to be a three-guard, two post player offense, but discussing with everybody what’s coming in, we might have to adjust that. For the most part we’re going to be small and go to four guards out, five out, so it really depends on what we have when we start practicing as to what we can do.”
Defensively, Adairsville will utilize multiple defenses.
“I believe that everybody has to play man-to-man, but I believe in playing a triangle-and-two, diamond-and-one. I like to extend out, 2-3 half-court trap and 2-2-1 full-court trap. I believe you have to have multiple defense, change it up and make people adjust to you, because a lot of times, you can change the defense and it kills their momentum, takes them awhile to adjust to it.”
Regardless of what defense the Tigers are playing, Wilkes will require that his team plays hard.
“My core philosophies are to work hard, do the little things right,” Wilkes said. “My philosophy is you work hard, and good things will happen. Carry yourself the right way and push yourself.”