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William Wilkinson (born April 22, 1947) is a retired Canadian ice hockey coach. He coached the Wayne State Warriors men's ice hockey program for its entire 9-year existence at the Division I level. Prior to that, Wilkinson coach the Western Michigan for seventeen seasons.

Biographical details
Born (1947-04-22) April 22, 1947 (age 72)
Goderich, ONT, CAN
Alma materSt. Lawrence University
Playing career
1967–1970St. Lawrence
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1978St. Lawrence(assistant)
1978–1979North Dakota (assistant)
1979–1982Bowling Green (assistant)
1982–1999Western Michigan
1999–2008Wayne State
2008–2011CH Jaca
2011–2012Melbourne Mustangs
Head coaching record
Overall437–469–81 (.484)
Tournaments0–5 (.000)
Accomplishments and honors
1986 CCHA Tournament Champion
2001 CHA Tournament Champion
2002 CHA Champion
2002 CHA Tournament Champion
2003 CHA Tournament Champion
1984 CCHA Coach of the Year
1986 CCHA Coach of the Year
1996 CCHA Coach of the Year
2002 CHA Coach of the Year



Wilkinson played for St. Lawrence for three years, leading the team in scoring as a sophomore and serving as the team captain in his senior season. After graduating in 1970 Wilkinson taught high school for a year before returning to Canton as an assistant coach for his alma mater.[1]

Wilkinson served as an assistant for St. Lawrence for seven years, leaving to accept a similar position at North Dakota for one season. He spent a further three seasons as an assistant at Bowling Green under Jerry York before getting his first head coaching job at Western Michigan.[2] After a poor showing in his first year the Broncos produced their first 20+ win season at the D-I level, earning Wilkinson the CCHA Coach of the Year. Two years later Wilkinson got the Broncos to surprising 32-win season, the program's only 30-win season (as of 2018)[3], won the CCHA Tournament and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time. The team declined to a mediocre level for much of the next seven years before finally returning to the NCAA tournament in 1994. The Broncos made another trip to the playoffs two years later but remained winless in NCAA postseason play under Wilkinson.

During the 1998–99 season two of Wilkinson's players were arrested at a team party in a building that Wilkinson owned.[4] An internal investigation was started and the entire team was subsequently suspended for violations of NCAA regulations. Wilkinson was eventually fired as head coach on February 3rd but allowed to remain at the university as a special assistant to the AD. Once the season was over Wilkinson formally left and later took over as head coach for the newly-created program at Wayne State.[5] The Warriors played as an independent for one season before joining the CHA. Wayne State produced a modest record their first season in conference but won both of their games in the CHA Tournament to earn Wilkinson his second conference championship. The Warriors followed that up by winning 20 games the next year, winning the CHA regular season title and claiming their second consecutive championship. With all of that team success Wilkinson was awarded with the CHA Coach of the Year. In 2003, with the NCAA tournament expanding to 16 teams, the CHA was to receive its first automatic bid and the two-time champions didn't disappoint, winning 20 games once more and claiming their third consecutive tournament championship. In the tournament Wayne State was set against the #2 overall seed Colorado College and, despite a valiant effort, could not overcome three power play goals from the Tigers.[6]

After their three year run the Warriors declined sharply and never produced another winning record.[7] In 2007 the university announced it was shuttering the men's team, citing a $500K annual operating cost coupled with no on-campus rink and a troubled economy.[5]

Wilkinson continued to coach after Wayne State shut down, spending three seasons with CH Jaca and then a six-month stint with the Melbourne Mustangs before retiring.

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1967–68 St. Lawrence Saints NCAA 24 15 21 36
1968–69 St. Lawrence Saints NCAA
1969–70 St. Lawrence Saints NCAA
NCAA totals 75 30 66 96

Head Coaching RecordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Western Michigan Broncos (CCHA) (1982–1999)
1982–83 Western Michigan 11–23–2 10–20–2 t-9th
1983–84 Western Michigan 22–18–2 13–14–1 5th CCHA Runner-Up
1984–85 Western Michigan 22–16–2 18–13–1 3rd CCHA Quarterfinals
1985–86 Western Michigan 32–12–0 23–9–0 T–2nd NCAA Quarterfinals
1986–87 Western Michigan 23–20–0 16–16–0 5th CCHA Consolation Game (Loss)
1987–88 Western Michigan 22–17–3 17–12–3 4th CCHA Consolation Game (Loss)
1988–89 Western Michigan 14–23–6 9–17–6 6th CCHA Quarterfinals
1989–90 Western Michigan 14–24–2 12–18–2 T–5th CCHA Quarterfinals
1990–91 Western Michigan 22–17–3 16–14–2 4th CCHA Consolation Game (Win)
1991–92 Western Michigan 16–14–6 14–12–6 4th CCHA Quarterfinals
1992–93 Western Michigan 20–16–2 17–11–2 5th CCHA First Round
1993–94 Western Michigan 24–13–3 18–10–2 4th NCAA East Regional Quarterfinals
1994–95 Western Michigan 17–18–5 9–14–4 T–6th CCHA Quarterfinals
1995–96 Western Michigan 27–11–3 21–6–3 T-3rd NCAA East Regional Quarterfinals
1996–97 Western Michigan 14–18–5 10–12–5 T–5th CCHA Quarterfinals
1997–98 Western Michigan 10–25–3 9–19–2 9th
1998–99 Western Michigan 3–16–6† 2–13–6†
Western Michigan: 313–301–53 234–230–47
Wayne State Warriors (Independent) (1999–2000)
1999–00 Wayne State 12–16–2
Wayne State: 12–16–2
Wayne State Warriors (CHA) (2000–2008)
2000–01 Wayne State 18–14–3 8–9–3 3rd CHA Champion
2001–02 Wayne State 21–11–4 15–2–3 1st CHA Champion
2002–03 Wayne State 21–17–2 11–7–2 T–3rd NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal
2003–04 Wayne State 9–24–3 5–15–1 6th CHA Semifinals
2004–05 Wayne State 14–17–4 7–9–4 4th CHA Quarterfinals
2005–06 Wayne State 6–23–6 3–12–5 6th CHA Quarterfinals
2006–07 Wayne State 12–21–2 8–10–2 4th CHA Quarterfinals
2007–08 Wayne State 11–25–2 6–14–0 4th CHA Semifinals
Wayne State: 112–152–26 63–78–20
Total: 437–469–81

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

† Wilkinson was fired in the midst of an internal investigation into team activities.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2016 AHCA Major Awards Are Announced". American Hockey Coaches Association. January 14, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "The appointment of Bill Wilkinson as hockey coach at..." UPI Archives. March 29, 1982. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  3. ^ "Western Michigan Men's Hockey Team History". Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "WMU Fires Head Coach Wilkinson". February 3, 1999. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Wayne State AD Vents About WSU Folding Program". November 20, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Colorado College 4, Wayne State 2". March 29, 2003. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Bill Wilkinson Coaching Record". College Hockey News. Retrieved October 20, 2018.

External linksEdit