brian wilkinson

New Pinelands Regional football coach Brian Wilkinson

The Pinelands Regional High School football team got a new coach Thursday night.

The Pinelands Regional School District Board of Education hired Brian Wilkinson, who previously was head coach at Toms River South, as the Wildcats’ coach, effective July 1.

Pinelands athletic director Will Sundermann, who was a member of the district's selection committee, said more than 25 candidates interviewed for the position during the past two months.

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“Brian brings a tremendous amount of experience and an intense commitment to make Pinelands a strong and competitive football program in the Shore Conference,” Sundermann said in a statement.

Wilkinson said in a phone interview that he was excited to be joining the Wildcats.

“When I applied for it and went through the process, with each interview I got more excited because it was clear that administration there wants a program that's run the right way and they seem very supportive,” he said. “The more I looked at it, the more excited I got.”

Wilkinson replaces Sean DeRosa, who was 24-66 in nine seasons as the Pinelands coach in the Shore Conference B South. The Wildcats haven’t won a game since the 2010 season.

“If you do things the right way long enough, success happens,” Wilkinson said. “I’d like to establish right away that we’re going to practice the right way and approach games the right way. Once we as a program — the players and staff included — start doing that, success will follow.”

Sundermann said Wilkinson will begin meeting with his players and interviewing candidates for his coaching staff following next week’s spring break.

Wilkinson, who has a bachelor's degree from Wagner College and a master's degree in educational administration from Scranton University, was the head coach at Toms River South High School, his alma mater, from 2001-07. More recently, he was the defensive coordinator at Toms River East High School.

Pinelands Superintendent Robert L. Blake said in a statement that Wilkinson’s coaching experience plus “his commitment to excellence and his knowledge of the game make him a perfect fit to rebuild our high school's football program.”

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