Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Wes Wilkerson is the head high school baseball coach at Ezell-Harding Christian School here in Nashville where he also serves as an assistant basketball coach for the boys' team. He teaches art at Ezell-Harding. He also is an active coach in the local summer leagues. He and his wife, Britney, also are parents of a seven-month-old girl.
Signed as a free-agent pitcher in 2000 by the Kansas City Royals, Wilkerson made it to the Triple-A level with three different Major League franchises. His career numbers at Lipscomb are impressive. He was an NAIA All-America performer. He ranks second all-time in career home runs (38), second in career RBI (213), tied for third in career triples (15), tied for fourth in career doubles (47), seventh in career runs scored (189) and in the top 10 in batting average with a career .337 mark.
Wilkerson, right in the photo above, stands with teammate Heath Giles after they were both named to the 1999 TranSouth All-Conference team.
Wilkerson was able to find some time to sit down and talk with Lipscombsports.com this week.
What sport did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
"I played baseball from 1996-2000 for coach Mel Brown. I played center field, right field and pitched"
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"I will never forget the very first day I walked out from the left field gates and stood on Ken Dugan Field. I remember how awesome that was. It is a beautiful field. It was almost like you had made it to the Major Leagues.
"It was the same way the first time I walked on a field for the first time in the minor leagues. It was at Spokane (Wash.). I felt like I had accomplished something even though I hadn't done anything yet."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"It would have to be Mel Brown. He was very, very hard on us. He tried to push you to the limit and sometimes over the limit.
"He was pushing you on the baseball field, but he was also pushing you in life to be a better person. You might not have agreed with everything he wanted us to do, but when I look back I realized he made me a better baseball player and a better person."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I knew for the most part I could go to any teacher and they would help you out as much as they could - even if you really didn't know them."
"Everybody was friendly. It made you feel comfortable. We had a campus where you felt like you were welcome."
"This is not a fond memory, and it might be unusual, but the cafeteria was not as good as I thought it would be. When I first walked in I thought, 'this is awful'.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"I learned how to become a better person in society. It is hard when you go into the minors and everything that comes along with it. Lipscomb taught me how to be a better Christian. You are tested as a minor league player but it is just like life. You are going to be tested no matter what."
"We had Baseball Chapel in the minors. Out of about 30 people involved with the team maybe five or six would attend Baseball Chapel on Sunday mornings. I enjoyed that. I was in so many different areas and different states you were able to see different aspects of life and Christianity."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"John Hudy. I worked with coach Hudy at Lipscomb High School for a year as a basketball player."
"If I had a question, even it wasn't a problem, I knew I could go to talk to coach Hudy. I always felt like I was welcome in his office."
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I am a coach and teacher at Ezell-Harding Christian School. This is my second year. I coach baseball and I am an assistant coach in boys' basketball in addition to teaching art."
Tell us about your family.
"My wife's name is Britney. We have a daughter, Briley, who is almost seven months old. The reason we named her Briley was we wanted to go with the letter B for Britney if it was a girl and a W if it was a boy. But my middle name is Wesley so we went with the 'ley' in my name. Everybody thinks we named her for Briley Parkway, but it has a deeper meaning than that."
The e-mail address for Wes is firstname.lastname@example.org.