Daren Wilkinson was named the 11th head coach and 10th full-time head coach in Texas A&M University-Kingsville history on Dec. 15, 2014 and formally introduced on Dec. 22, 2014. Wilkinson took over the historic Javelina football program after two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
In just his second season in Hog Nation, Wilkinson had one of the most impressive turnaround seasons in the NCAA regardless of Division, turning a 2-9 program to a 9-3 team and a postseason victory at the Fourth Annual Agent Barry Live United Bowl.
The Thunder Wolves finished the 2014 season 14-1 overall and No. 1 nationally after earning the school's first ever NCAA Division II Football Championship, defeating previously unbeaten and top-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato. Three offensive players, including running back Cameron McDondle earned Daktronics All-Super Region 4 honors as Colorado State-Pueblo earned its fourth consecutive Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference crown and reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the fourth straight season.
In just their seventh season since reinstating football, CSU-Pueblo averaged nearly 35 points per game and 400 yards per game. Under his guidance, quarterback Chris Bonner was propelled to All-America honorable mention honors in 2013 and this season, ranks 18th in the nation with 30 passing touchdowns.
In his first season as offensive coordinator for the Pack, Wilkinson guided CSU-Pueblo to 509.3 yards of offensive per game and 42.7 points per contest, ranked sixth and seventh nationally, respectively.
Wilkinson joined CSU-Pueblo after nearly four seasons as the quarterbacks coach and assistant recruiting coordinator for NCAA Division I program and his alma mater, Colorado State University. Serving under Rams coach Steve Fairchild from 2008-12, he helped lead Colorado State to the New Mexico Bowl championship in 2008. That season, his offense ranked in the top 40 nationally and former CSU quarterback Billy Farris went on to play in the National Football League with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. While at CSU, his recruiting areas included San Diego, North Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, North Calif., Ariz., Nev., Utah and all quarterback prospects.
In 2004, he joined the South Dakota State University football coaching staff as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. While there, he helped SDSU have a smooth transition to Division I as the team had a winning record each season he led the offense, culminating in the 2007 Great West Conference championship. Spending four seasons as the offensive signal caller for SDSU, he coached the quarterback that set the school’s all-time passing record and defeated the No. 1 team in the nation in 2007. South Dakota State finished with a winning record in his four seasons.
Joining the NCAA Division II ranks as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Fayetteville State University (N.C.) in 2001, Wilkinson coached two all-conference receivers and assisted the team in earning back-to-back CIAA Conference titles in 2002-03 and a NCAA Division II playoff berth in 2002.
Wilkinson has coached for 15 years at the collegiate level, beginning as an offensive graduate assistant at Colorado State in 1997 and 1998 after quarterbacking the Rams for two seasons, leading them to the 1995 Western Athletic Conference title. He then served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Arizona College from 1999-00.
While at Eastern Arizona, he recruited and coached six players that went on to play NCAA Division I football and led the squad to an upset win over the No. 1 team in the nation. As an offensive graduate assistant for the Rams, he helped lead the team to the 1997 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship and Holliday Bowl Championship. In his three seasons as a GA, he worked with two quarterbacks that earned conference player of the year honors.
As a player, Wilkinson started seven games for Colorado State in 1995 as a junior, leading the Rams to a share of the WAC title. Joining the Rams after a sensational playing career at Ricks Junior College (now BYU-Idaho), he went 21-2 as a starter and was crowned the College Sports Magazine Junior College Player of the Year in 1994. That season, he earned first team All-American honors, leading the squad to an 11-0 mark and throwing for over 3,000 yards en route to the school’s all-time passing record.
Growing up in Valley Center, Calif., Wilkinson was a two-sport athlete at Orange Glen High School, lettering in both basketball and football. He earned second team all-conference honors on the gridiron.
Born Feb. 11, 1972, in Corona, Calif., he owns two degrees from Colorado State, a bachelors in psychology (‘97) and a master’s in education (‘99). He and his wife Ann have three children, Alexa, Macy and Jet.