This is the fourth in a series of biographies on the head coaches of the 25 teams in the ECHL in 2005-06.
ECHL.com will post a different coach’s biography each weekday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Derek Wilkinson returns for his second full season as general manager and head coach of the Charlotte Checkers. The 31-year-old Wilkinson is the second-youngest active coach in the ECHL. In his first full season in 2004-05, Charlotte finished 39-26-7 and returned to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time in three years.
The Checkers lost in six games in the American Conference Finals, the team’s longest postseason run in nine years, after upsetting East Division regular season winner Columbia in five games in the quarterfinals and Gwinnett in the semifinals. Wilkinson was promoted from assistant general manager and assistant coach on January 29, 2004 and the Checkers went 12-14-4 in the final 30 games.
He joined the Charlotte staff in 2002-03 as director of hockey operations and assistant coach and in 2003-04 became assistant general manager and assistant coach. He played one season for the Checkers going 11-13-2 in 1999-2000. Wilkinson was the first-ever goaltender selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who selected him in the seventh round (145th overall) in the 1992 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Wilkinson played seven professional seasons including parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Lightning. He also played in the International Hockey League with Atlanta, Cleveland and Chicago as well as in the British Super League with Belfast. Wilkinson and his wife, Terri, have a daughter, Kylie.