Matt Wilkerson is entering his eighth year as Hanover’s head coach for men's soccer. In his seven seasons, the program has made significant progress and established multiple school records.
In recent years, the Hanover men's soccer program has ascended to the top of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, including a regular season title in 2015 and 2018, followed by a tournament championship and NCAA Division III National Tournament appearance in 2016. In each of the last four years, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Panthers have won double-digit matches overall, including seven or more victories each season in the HCAC.
During his first year the team finished with a 7-7-4 record and the first .500 finish since 2006. Defensively, the team lowered the number of goals allowed from 49 in 2011 to 22 in 2012. They also claimed impressive results with two teams that participated in the NCAA tournament, including a 2-2 draw with Thomas More and a 0-0 draw with nationally-ranked DePauw. The team finished in fifth place in the HCAC and placed three players on All-Conference teams.
2013 was a record breaking year for the program. The team set the then school records for total wins (10), longest winning streak (6) and most conference wins (6). The Panthers finished with a 10-8-2 record and advanced to the semi-finalist of the HCAC tournament. Four players received All-Conference awards. Matthew Eldridge was named the Conference Newcomer of the Year. Two players were named Academic All-Region.
Overall, Wilkerson has produced a 74-46-15 (.640) overall mark in his first six seasons at Hanover, while also accumulating a 41-14-8 (.763) record in conference play.
Prior to arriving at Hanover, Wilkerson was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at the University of Kentucky (2003-2011). In his time at the University of Kentucky the Wildcats experienced significant success, including advancing to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, two conference championships, an average of 10-plus wins a year, the program's highest ever national ranking (No. 13) and multiple wins against teams ranked in the Top 10 nationally, along with a victory against the number one ranked team in America.
Wilkerson recruited and helped develop players that were named All-Americans, Academic All-America, Conference Player of the Year, and Conference Newcomer of the Year. He also assisted three players in earning MLS contracts. Additionally, multiple players earned contracts in some of Europe’s top leagues.
Wilkerson has experienced success at the Club and High School level. In 2000, he led his alma mater, Iowa City West to the school’s first ever Iowa High School Athletic Association State Championship. The Trojans finished with the season ranked number four in the nation by the NSCAA.
Heavily involved in club soccer since 2000, Wilkerson was the assistant coaching director for the Iowa Soccer Club from 2000-2003. In his time with the Iowa Soccer Club, the club won multiple State Cups, including its first ever cup win and placed multiple players in College programs. He also coached for the Commonwealth Soccer Club (2005-2013) in Lexington, Ky., serving as the club's interim executive director in 2013. Wilkerson’s teams were the first in the club to advance to the State Championship game. Many of his former CSC players are now playing in college.
Wilkerson's philosophy is built on helping players maximize their college experience and helping them develop as students, people and players. He has earned his USSF National "A" License as well as the USSF National Youth License.