ODU TO INTRODUCE BOBBY WILDER AS HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Bobby Wilder, the associate head football coach at the University of Maine, will be introduced at a press conference at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center as the head football coach at Old Dominion University, it was announced today by Athletic Director Jim Jarrett.
Old Dominion will begin a football program in the fall of 2009, competing as an NCAA Division I Football Championship member (formerly known as I-AA) in the Colonial Athletic Association.
"The excellent work of our search committee, led by Dr. Jim Jarrett and Vice President John Broderick, has resulted in a first-rate appointment. Mr. Wilder's ethical approach to athletics and his philosophy, which includes a strong emphasis on academic achievement, combine with a congenial personality and a commitment to team-building and successful competition," said ODU President Roseann Runte.
Wilder has served on the Maine staff for the past 17 years, and was promoted to assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in 2000 before moving to associate head coach in 2001. He was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston in 2004, an award presented annually to the top assistant coach in New England. Prior to moving to the coordinator post, Wilder served as quarterbacks coach during one of the most explosive eras for Black Bear quarterbacks. Maine captured the Atlantic 10 Conference title in both 2001 and 2002.
Old Dominion last fielded a football team in 1940, when it was a two-year division of the College of William and Mary. Wilder becomes the second football coach in Old Dominion's history, following the late Tommy Scott, who served as the only coach of the program from 1930-1940.
"Bobby Wilder has been a significant factor in the success of the Maine football program as both a I-AA coach and player," said Jarrett. "He has all of the qualities we were looking for in the person to lead our program, and his outstanding football knowledge, leadership and public relations skills will be an asset in building our program."
Wilder's selection concluded a national search of candidates, who were reviewed by a committee of university and community members including Jarrett; Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement, admissions and chief of staff; Anshita Kumar, a senior finance major who is an alternate student member to the Board of Visitors and a Student Government Association committee chair; Kevin Larkin '94, the senior vice president at Bank of America in Norfolk and a former ODU basketball captain and Academic All-American; Robin Ray, president of Atlantic Dominion Distributors and current member of the ODU Intercollegiate Foundation board; Janis Sanchez-Hucles, psychology department chair at the university and ODU's faculty representative to the NCAA; and Moody "Sonny" Stallings, a 1973 graduate of ODU, Virginia Beach attorney and Board of Visitors member.
"I would like to thank President Runte and the committee members for their outstanding support throughout the search process," added Jarrett. "The committee recognized the importance of obtaining a coach with superior leadership qualities, which we have found in coach Wilder."
A 1987 graduate of Maine with a degree in physical education, Wilder captained the Black Bears to the Yankee Conference championship his senior year. An All-New England quarterback in 1985, he left Maine as the school's all-time leading passer with 4,493 yards, and currently ranks sixth. A 1982 graduate of Madison High School in Madison, Maine, Wilder was a highly recruited quarterback his senior year. In his sophomore year he led the Black Bears to their first of five consecutive winning seasons.
"I am incredibly excited to be the head football coach at Old Dominion University. This job is a dream come true for me. I want to thank the many people who helped make this possible, especially President Runte, Vice President Broderick and Athletic Director Jim Jarrett. I would also like to thank the members of the search committee who took the time from their busy schedules to meet with me, as well as members of the athletic administration. My mission is to bring the Old Dominion football program to national prominence both athletically and academically. Work will begin immediately," said Wilder.
The Colonial Athletic Association begins sponsorship of football in the fall of 2007, and Old Dominion will be eligible to compete for a conference title in the fall of 2011. Members of the CAA's Football Championship Subdivision football conference are the University of Delaware, Hofstra University, James Madison University, the University of Maine, the University of Massachusetts, the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Richmond, Towson University, Villanova University and the College of William and Mary.
The conference is already considered one of the finest in Division I-AA football, having produced two national champions in Delaware (2003) and James Madison (2004), and three of the last eight with Massachusetts claiming the title in 1998.
After earning his degree at Maine, Wilder served as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons under Jack Bicknell at Boston College, where he earned his master's degree in educational administration in 1990.
Wilder and his wife, Pam, have two sons, Derek (10) and Drew (5).