On April 12, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, VMI superintendent, announced the hiring of Andrew Wilson to serve as the Institute’s 29th head basketball coach.
Wilson comes to VMI after spending the past two seasons as an assistant coach under Mark Byington at James Madison University, where he helped coach the Dukes to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly a decade.
“I am excited about the energy and winning mindset that Coach Wilson will bring to our basketball program,” Wins said. “His strong record of growth and improvement is important for our program to continue to build on its recent successes. Andrew’s leadership and commitment to talent development will serve our cadet-athletes well both on and off the court.”
In his first season on staff, Wilson helped coach JMU to a Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title, a huge step up from its 9-21 mark during the 2019-20 season. This past season, the Dukes finished with a 15-14 mark that included a 9-2 start, a win over Virginia, and overcoming a 29-day pause due to COVID-19-related issues.
“Coach Wilson is ready to embrace the challenge of serving as a head coach at VMI,” said Jim Miller, VMI interim athletic director. “Andrew will represent VMI with dignity and embrace the unique mission of VMI. His previous coaching experience demonstrated his leadership ability and preparedness to lead our team.”
Wilson, who coordinated the Dukes’ defensive efforts, was responsible for leading the JMU defense to top 100 national marks in limiting opponents in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, turnover percentage, steals, and points per possession. The 2020-21 season marked JMU’s first No. 1 seed at the CAA tourney since 1992-93.
“I want to thank General Wins, Jim Miller, and Lenny Brown for this amazing opportunity,” Wilson said. “It’s an honor and privilege to lead the Keydet basketball program and build off the current team’s success. I am very excited to serve our current cadet-athletes and hit the ground running on the recruiting trail. VMI is a special place, and I look forward to embracing the many traditions of the Institute. My family and I are very excited to make the VMI post our home for many years to come.”
In 2021, Wilson was selected to participate in the prestigious TopConnect Basketball Symposium (formerly Villa 7). The conference identifies the top assistant basketball coaches in the country and connects them with mid-major athletic directors, providing networking and leadership development opportunities.
Before arriving in Harrisonburg, Wilson served alongside Byington for seven seasons at Georgia Southern, including the final year as associate head coach. The pair led the Eagles to their first-ever postseason bid and three straight 20-win campaigns in the final three years.
Georgia Southern racked up 13 all-conference selections, including Tookie Brown, who was the first Sun Belt Player of the Year in program history in 2019, an Honorable Mention All-American, and the first player in league history to take home four First Team All-Sun Belt nods. In addition, every senior to come through GSU’s program graduated during Wilson’s seven years in Statesboro.
The Eagles were one of 44 Division I programs in the country with 20-plus wins for three straight seasons and one of just 26 to win 10 or more league games in six straight. The program’s academic APR score also increased from 932 to 981 during Wilson’s seven years at Georgia Southern.
In June 2019, Wilson was selected to attend the Jay Bilas Coaches Leadership Program. The program was designed to identify and develop up-and-coming coaches who have the potential to be Division I college head coaches. The four-day leadership program in Charlotte, North Carolina, was limited to 12 coaches nationwide who have been recognized as rising stars in the profession as assistants.
Wilson spent six seasons as an assistant coach at College of Charleston under head coach Bobby Cremins before moving to Binghamton for the 2012-13 season. While at Charleston, Wilson coached alongside Byington as assistants, and the pair helped lead the Cougars to an average of 22 wins a season, three postseason tournament appearances, three Southern Conference title game appearances, four 20-win seasons, the 2011 Southern Conference regular-season title, and the program’s first NBA Draft pick in 14 years when the Los Angeles Lakers selected guard Andrew Goudelock.
Wilson played parts of six seasons at Florida State (2000-06) after suffering multiple injuries that led to two consecutive medical redshirts. Wilson became a three-year starter under head coach Leonard Hamilton and helped lead a resurgence of the Seminole basketball program. He became the first student-athlete in ACC history to play in six different seasons and became FSU’s all-time leader in games played. As a senior captain in 2005-06, he helped lead the Seminoles to their first 20-win season in nearly a decade, finished second in the country in three-point field goal percentage, and became the first player in program history to hit at least seven three-pointers in multiple ACC games.
Wilson was also a standout in the classroom during his career at FSU. He earned a master’s degree in sports administration and was named to the All-ACC Academic Basketball Team three times and the ACC Academic Honor Roll five times.
A 2000 graduate of Harrison High School in the metro Atlanta area, Wilson was a two-time, first-team all-state honoree and was the school’s all-time scoring leader upon graduation. He was elected to the Harrison High School Hall of Fame in 2015. Wilson was the 2000 Cobb County Tip-Off Club Player of the Year and was named to The Atlanta Tipoff Club Metro Atlanta Boys Prep Team.
Andrew and his wife, Lisa, are the proud parents of three children: Cate (12), Mackenzi (9), and Knox (3).
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at vmikeydets.com.