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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation
Chris Wilkerson
Chris Wilkerson
Title: Head Football Coach
Phone: 773-702-9035

Chris Wilkerson enters his eighth year as Head Football Coach at the University of Chicago in 2020, and his 26th year overall as a collegiate football coach.

The 2019 season saw UChicago post a 6-1 record against Midwest Conference opposition. The Maroons were highly ranked on the national scene in several categories, including 10th in punt returns (15.9 YPR), eighth in fewest penalties (35), 12th in third-down conversion percentage (.508), 27th in rushing offense (225.4 YPG) and 30th in scoring defense (16.6 PPG).

The 2018 Maroons were dominant in Midwest Conference play. They went 7-1 against MWC opponents with a modern-era school record of three shutouts. The team's 63 points scored versus Beloit College also set a modern-era record. At season's end, UChicago set new school marks for points scored (365) and points allowed (118) in a season. The squad ranked 11th in the nation in points allowed (11.8 per game), fourth in red zone defense, seventh in red zone offense and 33rd in passing yards allowed (166.6 per game).

In 2017, UChicago's defense stood out in its first season in the Midwest Conference. The Maroons finished the regular season ranked third in NCAA Division III in turnovers gained with 31 (14 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries). They were 19th in blocked kicks and 26th in total defense (282.1 YPG). Additionally, running back Chandler Carroll set new school records for career touchdowns (46), career rushing touchdowns (37), career points (276), career rushing attempts (859) and touchdowns in a season (18).

The 2016 Maroon offense produced the most prolific season in school history, breaking 10 team records and 11 individual records (career, season and game). The passing attack was ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III with 381.0 yards per game, while also coming in No. 18 in total offense (485.6 YPG). Individually, quarterback Burke Moser finished second in the nation in both passing yards (3,766) and completions per game (31.7). Running back Chandler Carroll was 11th in all-purpose yards (174.2 YPG).

At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Wilkerson owned the best three-year record in the modern era at 20-9. His 2015 squad got off to a 4-0 start for the third-straight season. The hot start allowed the team to earn its first-ever national ranking in the modern era at No. 24 in the poll (Oct. 4).

Statistically, the Maroons did not allow any punts or kicks to be blocked, while also ranking 8th in the NCAA Division III in turnovers lost and 18th in fewest penalty yards. Running back Chandler Carroll became the sixth Maroon to exceed 1,000 rushing yards and also broke the school record for rushing yards in a game with 311 versus Centre College. Quarterback Burke Moser set school records for season completion percentage (.584) and completions in a game (41) while tying for first in season touchdown passes (21). Cornerback Vincent Beltrano concluded his career as UChicago's all-time leader in interceptions (15), passes defended (40) and punt return yards (528).

In 2014, the Maroons began the season 5-0, their best start to a season since 1929. UChicago finished the year with an 8-1 record and won the UAA title with a 3-0 mark. Wilkerson and his assistants were named UAA Coaching Staff of the Year. UChicago swept conference honors for Offensive Player of the Year (Quarterback Patrick Ryan), Defensive Player of the Year (Defensive Tackle Scott Mainquist) and Rookie of the Year (Running Back Chandler Carroll).

The 2014 team ranked nationally in a number of significant categories: No. 3 in first down defense, No. 7 in turnover margin (1.78), No. 7 in third-down defensive conversion percentage (.262), No. 5 in total defense (247.1 yards per game), No. 8 in rushing defense (84.1 yards per game), No. 17 in fewest penalties per game (4.56), No. 19 in time of possession (33:17) and No. 18 in scoring defense (15.1 points per game). On special teams, UChicago was tied for the nation's lead with no punts or kicks blocked on the season. Defensive end Brandon Bolock ranked No. 7 in the nation with three blocked kicks.

In his first season, Wilkerson led the Maroons to their second 4-0 start in the modern era, which also occured in 2001. In 2013, UChicago achieved national rankings in several categories, including No. 15 in scoring defense (14.4 points per game), No. 22 in total defense (285.6 yards per game), No. 17 in turnover margin (+1.2), No. 20 in punt returns (12.7 yards per return) and No. 15 in fewest penalties per game (4.30 per game).

He previously served on Dartmouth College's coaching staff from 2005-13 and was named Associate Head Coach in 2007. During his tenure at Dartmouth, Wilkerson's broad range of responsibilities included defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, running backs coach, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator.

Dartmouth's special teams and running backs excelled in recent years under Wilkerson's tutelage. The team was ranked in the top 10 nationally in a number of categories, including punt return average, blocked kicks, individual rushing average and fewest fumbles lost. His stand-out players featured a pair of All-Americans – Dartmouth's all-time leading rusher Nick Schweiger and punt returner Shawn Abuhoff. As the defensive coordinator from 2005-08, Wilkerson's highlights included a pass defense that ranked 14th in the country in his debut season.

Prior to his time at Dartmouth, Wilkerson coached the defense and special teams at San Jose State University from 2002-04. In 2003, he was a nominee for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.

Wilkerson began his coaching career at his alma mater Eastern Illinois University, serving from 1995-2001. He led the special teams unit all seven years and also had stints as defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and defensive line coach. The Panthers reached the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs four times and won a pair of conference championships during his tenure. Wilkerson's defenses and special teams were regularly ranked in the national top 20 in numerous categories.

Wilkerson earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Eastern Illinois University in 1995. Chris and his wife, Sharna, have three children – Isabella, Peyton and Charlotte.

Coach Wilkerson Recruiting States: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., International


Year Overall
Pct. Conf.
2019 6-3 .667 6-1 (MWC)   .857  
2018 7-3 .700 7-1 (MWC)   .875  
2017 6-4 .600 6-2 (MWC)   .750  
2016 4-6 .400 4-4 (SAA)
2015 6-4 .600 5-3 (SAA)
2014 8-1 .889 3-0 (UAA)
1.000 UAA title
2013 6-4 .600 1-2 (UAA)
Totals 43-25 .632 32-13   .711 7 years