Brother Rice alum Gerard Wilcher is in his first season as head coach at Morehouse, where he played from 1988-1991 and later coached. Photo courtesy of Morehouse University Athletics

Brother Rice alum Gerard Wilcher is in his first season as head coach at Morehouse, where he played from 1988-1991 and later coached. Photo courtesy of Morehouse University Athletics

Gerard Wilcher embarks on first season leading alma mater Morehouse

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By Mike Walsh
Correspondent

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Houston, Texas. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In his 30-plus years of coaching college football, Gerard Wilcher has been employed in each of these communities plus several more.

He now gets to include Atlanta on that list.

But this addition has special significance. The 1987 Brother Rice graduate is going home.

Wilcher is in his first season as head football coach at Morehouse College, the school from which he graduated in 1992 and where he played defensive back. He served as an assistant coach at his alma mater for three seasons after graduation.

“Man, it’s amazing,” Wilcher said. “It’s crazy, and sometimes it’s frustrating. I know where the landmines are and where they were at. A lot has changed, but a lot has not changed. I’m just trying to find ways to make us better on all levels.

“This is special. When this opportunity came up, I wasn’t sure, but with how things have worked out for me it became clear that it was time to go back home.”

Wilcher, a four-year letterman during his playing days for the Tigers, spent the last five seasons as the cornerbacks coach at Rice. Prior to that he coached at Delaware State, Seton Hill, Cornell, Massachusetts, Boston College and Cheyney.

Wilcher also spent a decade as the co-defensive coordinator at Lehigh, where he was a member of four Patriot League championship teams and three FCS playoff teams.

As great as those experiences may have been, he always hoped he would one day be a head coach. That it’s at Morehouse makes it even better for the Chicago native who grew up near 91st Street and LaSalle Avenue on the city’s South Side.

“This is unbelievable,” Wilcher said. “As a college coach, you don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get.

“I’m not going to chase jobs. You just want to do the best you can at the job you’re at. I’ve had 10 jobs over the last 30 years.

Wilcher is the first Morehouse alum since 1979 to lead the program.

“I had a chance to meet (last Morehouse alumni head coach) Michael Gray and that was awesome,” he said. “As a student you don’t appreciate that, but now it’s great to meet him.”

The Tigers open the 2023 season Sept. 3 against Virginia Union in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, Ohio. The game kicks off at 3 p.m. Chicago time and will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

The Tigers won’t have a true home game until October 14 when Miles College visits Atlanta. That will be Wilcher’s first time in a game setting at Morehouse since his last game there as an assistant in 1994.

“It hasn’t sunken in yet,” he said. “There are so many things I have to get done before that point. But I have total trust in my assistants. I need them to be great football coaches and I’ll handle all the other stuff. Probably one week out is when I’ll start to feel it and get that excitement.

Helping Wilcher acclimate to the head coaching position at Morehouse is the presence of some of his mentors. While there have been many men who have influenced him, there is one coach in particular to whom he looks for guidance and advice.

“Willie Hill was my first defensive coordinator in college,” he said. “He’s still the track coach at Morehouse. He’s a stud. He’s made a lasting impression on me.

“The stuff he would say to us, half of it I can’t say to the kids today. We were in a meeting in 1987 and he would write the defensive breakdowns on the chalkboard. He wrote ‘gold line’ on the board instead of ‘goal line.’ One of the freshman said, ‘Coach, you misspelled that.’

“But Coach said, ‘No. The goal line is the gold line and we have to protect it. I can’t get that touchdown back. You’re replaceable, but I can’t get that touchdown back.’ I can’t tell kids that today.”

2 Comments

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    • Bro Kevin Davis on August 17, 2023 at 10:18 pm

      I’m so proud of this brother/Frat brother/homeboy. He is deserving of this opportunity and I pray he will receive the support he deserves. He is now under the wings of the AD Ellis and I’m sure he will do his best to improve all aspects of the athletic programs. Gods blessings Brother Wilcher.



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