By Tommy Keeler Jr.
QUICKSBURG -- Roger Wilkins has coached a lot of different sports over the years.
He's either been a head coach or assistant at the JV or varsity level for boys and girls basketball, football, cross country and track and field. So when he had an opportunity to become the golf coach at Stonewall Jackson four years ago, Wilkins was eager to try out a new sport.
After four years, it's worked out really well for Wilkins and the Generals.
"For me personally, it was one sport that I had never coached before. One sport that I probably knew the least technique and fundamentally-wise," Wilkins said. "So I sort of wanted to challenge myself to get better at that. It's like basketball -- I can't hardly go out and play it anymore. I felt like If I can't do that, and basketball's sort of the sport I felt most comfortable with, then why couldn't I do golf?"
Wilkins, The Northern Virginia Daily's 2012 Golf Coach of the Year, has helped guide the Generals to a lot of success over the last four years.
In his first year, the Generals were district regular season and tournament champions, and they were district regular season champs and tournament runner-ups the following season. Last year they finished second in both the regular season and the tournament, and just missed qualifying for regionals.
This season, the Generals were back on top of the district in the regular season, and finished fifth in the Region B tournament.
Wilkins said he doesn't play golf very often, but he does get subscriptions to a couple golf magazines, and tried to study the sport as much as possible.
"I like golf," Wilkins said. "I love it. I love to watch it on TV."
Wilkins said that most of the players on the team take lessons, and that his biggest job as coach is as a motivator to the players.
"My job is relatively easy, quite frankly, to get them to practice and get them going," Wilkins said. "And to try to motivate them and challenge them to be competitive, and try to have fun. I think sports needs to be fun."
Clearly, Wilkins did a good job motivating his team this season as they rallied from 10 strokes down to Wilson Memorial with just two tournaments left in the district season. The Generals made up the deficit with some clutch performances in the final tournaments to win the district title.
Wilkins said he was very happy with the team this season.
"It was a pleasure to be with them," Wilkins said. "They dedicated themselves to the sport. They got along really well. We had a lot of depth. That was a strength of the team. I think everybody got a little bit better."
Wilkins is also an assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Stonewall, and although he still loves coaching basketball, he said he really enjoys coaching golf as well.
"With basketball being something that I grew up with and played and coached for many years, I think inside I pressured myself more to be successful," Wilkins said. "With golf I tried to take some of that individual pressure off myself and tried to enjoy it. That's probably another reason I chose to do it, to challenge myself, but also to try to do something where I could just personally have more fun at coaching.
"It's been a lot of fun for me."
Contact assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org