Earnest Wilson named Vikings head football coach

Elizabeth City State University has named its new head football coach. Athletic Director Derrick Johnson announced today that former ECSU offensive coordinator and Savannah State University (SSU) head football coach Earnest J. Wilson III has been tapped to head the Vikings football program.

“We are delighted that Earnest has agreed to become our head football coach,” said Johnson. “His football expertise, leadership traits and passion for Elizabeth City State University are qualities that our student-athletes and fans will embrace.”

Wilson is entering his 25th year of coaching. He comes to ECSU with a strong background in college and professional coaching experience, most recently from Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) member Savannah State University where he served as the head football coach since 2013. Prior to SSU, Wilson served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Hampton University in 2012.

Wilson took the helm at SSU at a time when the athletic program was faced with NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) sanctions, including scholarship reductions among other penalties. Wilson, who is credited with turning the program around, is also responsible for raising the football team’s GPA from 1.9 to 2.5.

Wilson has a track record as a winning coach. While at Hampton University, the team’s offensive attack was ranked in the top five and boasted the top rusher in the MEAC. Prior to Hampton he worked at Jackson State University as offensive coordinator, quarterback coach and wide receiver coach where his offense led the South Western Athletic Conference in scoring offense, pass offense, pass efficiency, first downs and fourth down conversions. Under his guidance, JSU led the nation in total offense, averaging almost 500 yards a game. During Wilson’s time with JSU (2010-12) the team had the ninth highest scoring offense in the nation, averaging 35 points a game.

While at New Mexico State University, Wilson recruited the #2 Quarterback in the nation and his offense led the nation in total offense gained. Wilson’s offense also captured the #3 spot for passing in Division I football.

Wilson's coaching background includes a stint as the head coach and director of football operations for the Carolina Rhinos (2001-02) and Jacksonville Tomcats (1999-2001) of Arena League Football 2 (AFL2). In his first season as head coach in 2000, the Rhinos posted a 10-8 record. The next year, Wilson led the Rhinos to a 13-5 record and advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs. Wilson took over at Jacksonville in 2002, leading the Tomcats to an 8-8 record (second place).
 
Wilson also served as the head coach of the Dayton Skyhawks of the Indoor Football League (1999). He led the team to the semifinals of the playoffs. Wilson served as ECSU offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach and offensive line coach from 1996 to 1998. He was also the head men’s and women’s track coach.

“Coach Wilson brings deep experience in college and professional football,” said Johnson. “He is committed to elevating the student-athlete experience, catalyzing fan and community engagement, while developing a winning tradition.”

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