After 13 years at Saint Mark’s, John Wilson said he was looking for a change, and he has found it after being hired by St. Georges as their new football coach.
“I’ve heard is said before, ‘sometimes you need to change to stay the same,’ Wilson told WDEL. “This is an opportunity for me to grow not only as a coach, but also as a teacher and a mentor.”
Wilson guided the Spartans to the 2010 state championship, but as the school’s population has decreased in recent years, so did the football team’s win totals, and they’ve yet to reach the Division II tournament in three seasons after reaching the Division I semis in 2014.
Meanwhile, St. Georges underwent its own transition this year, after being promoted to Division I with their rising enrollment, they dipped from 8-2 in 2016 down to 4-6 in J.D. Maull’s last season guiding the Hawks.
Wilson said getting in near the ground floor of St. Georges’ Division I history was a big reason he submitted his resume for the opening.
“They’ve always been one of the top teams in Division II for a number of years. Making a transition to Division I in a very tough Flight A Conference, it’s very appealing to try to get these kids to compete at the top level of high school football.”
At this point, Wilson was just hired as a football coach, as full-time positions in the New Castle County Vo-Tech District won’t open until May, but he said he focused his interview on the complete package he can bring to a school.
“Not only were they getting a football coach, but they were getting an educator. Someone who was going to care about them as football people, but also as student-athletes. And just try to drive and instill values such as unselfishness, discipline, and dependable and relentless players.”
Wilson began his coaching career in the Colonial School District, where he worked for 8 years before taking the head coaching job at Saint Mark’s as a 34-year-old.
He said it wasn’t easy to transition away from a school where he’ll continue to serve as a counselor through the end of this academic year.
“The people at Saint Mark’s have been nothing but supportive and respectful in my decision, and I can’t be more grateful for that.”
Despite both having “St.” as shorthand for the beginning of their names, St. Georges and St. Mark’s are two different schools. St. Mark’s is a catholic school, while St. Georges serves a vocational and technical institution. Wilson said that shouldn’t be a big difference in his final product.
“Kids are kids. If they want to work hard and put in the work, and trust the values you’re implementing, it’s always a good place.”
Wilson has served as the President of the Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association, and will be one of the assistant camp directors at the DFRC Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game.
With the St. Georges vacancy filled, that leaves Cape Henlopen and Saint Elizabeth as the two biggest high school football openings left in Delaware.