James Wilkes returns to Villanova for his fourth season with the program and third as Head Coach in 2013-14. Wilkes spent two and a half seasons as the first assistant where he was responsible for short game instruction, fitness and scheduling and was promoted to Head Coach in February 2011.
Wilkes has pushed the Wildcats to unprecedented success in just two short years as head coach. In 2012-13, Wilkes led the Wildcats to two team championships at the Lehigh Invitational and the Yale Spring Invitational which marked the third team championship for the Wildcats under Wilkes' tenure. Villanova recorded six top-5 team finishes during the season and ten top-10 team finishes on the year while Michael Kania claimed the individual championship at the Lehigh Invitational in October. Under Wilkes' tutelage, Kania exploded for a standout senior season where he was named to the 2013 All-BIG EAST Team, chosen as the 2012-13 Philadelphia Inquirer Men's Golf Academic All-Area Performer of the Year, named the 2012-13 American Eagle Outfitters Male Institutional Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2012-13 Villanova Senior Male Student-Athlete of the Year amongst numerous other accolades.
Additionally, Wilkes once again hosted the highly anticipated Wildcat Invitational for the second-straight season, bringing some of the best collegiate golf action to the Main Line.
In 2011-12, Wilkes guided Michael Kania to an individual tournament championship at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate in Pinehurst, N.C. and mentored the team to a third place finish at the BIG EAST Championship in Reunion, Fl.
Deciding to follow his love for the game, Wilkes began his career as a club professional in 1998. He has served as an assistant golf professional at Twining Valley Golf and Fitness Club and has also worked at the PGA National Golf Resort and Blue Bell Country Club where he spent four seasons as head golf professional.
Wilkes has also been involved with numerous junior golf programs at Lu Lu, Blue Bell, and Twining Valley golf clubs and worked as an instructor for the local Boys and Girls Club of America chapters as well as Kids on the Hill charities. In 2001, Wilkes' contributions to the community were recognized and he was honored with the prestigious Brosius Award in 2001 for his involvement with community service. Wilkes was also named one of the Top 50 Kids Teachers by United States Kids' Golf in 2010.
Currently, Wilkes is an elected member of the Professional Golf Association of America and is on the golf professional staff at Lu Lu Country Club in North Hills, Pa. Wilkes also serves as a golf specific personal trainer at Twining Valley Golf and Fitness Club.
In addition to his numerous contributions to the game, Wilkes also serves as director of the local U.S. Kids Golf Tour and plans to initiate a series of local U.S. Kids Golf clinics and camps in 2010. He has also been a tour director for several regional and world U.S. Kids Golf Championships. In recognition of his area contributions, the PGA Philadelphia Chapter honored Wilkes with the Junior Golf Leader award in both 2009 and 2010.
Wilkes, a 1996 Villanova alum, was elected as a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society during his years as a student. After receiving his degree in Biology, Wilkes began his career as a lab technician at a pharmaceutical plant in Horsham, Pa., where he specialized in carbohydrate chemistry.
Wilkes resides in North Wales, Pa. and has a son enrolled at The Pennsylvania State University.