MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Bethel University Athletic Director Tony Natali is pleased to announce that Danny Wilkerson has been named as the second head coach in track and field program history.
“I’m excited that Danny Wilkerson will be the new head track and field head coach at Bethel University,” stated Natali. “Danny has been instrumental in the program’s success the past several years. The continuity the program will see will be very positive. I’m excited for the future of the track and field program.”
Danny Wilkerson takes over from Natali and becomes the second coach in program history, as Natali started the program when he came to Bethel in 1999. Wilkerson had been an assistant for the program for the previous 14 seasons. As the top assistant for the Pilots, Wilkerson oversaw the training and development for sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, mid-distance, and aspects of the throwing program since 2009.
“Bethel track and field holds a special place in the hearts of so many current and former athletes,” described Wilkerson. “In the end, it was those relationships I’ve built while here that made the decision to step into the role of head coach an easy one.
“Even though it was sad to see my close friend Tony Natali step down, it was an honor to be able to witness his passion and love for this program over the years. It only drives and encourages me to continue on in his legacy. I’m beyond excited to officially take over the reins of the program. To take what he started and not only advance the competitive nature of the program but maintain the family atmosphere with Christ in the center is what makes this program so special.”
Over the course of his coaching career in both indoor and outdoor seasons, Wilkerson has coached over 90 NAIA All-American performances, including five NAIA individual national title performances. At the NCCAA level, Wilkerson has coached over 360 NCCAA All-Americans and over 100 NCCAA individual national title performances and has been on the coaching staff for all 13 of the Pilots’ NCCAA Team National Championships. He has also coached nearly 100 Crossroads League champions.
Outside of coaching collegiately for Bethel, Wilkerson has coached five USATF National Champions, including Bethel long jumper Jordan Downs at the 2019 Indoor Championship meet. He has also coached three World Championship members, a London Olympic alternate, and a World Junior Championship Silver Medalist.
A 2004 graduate of Aquinas College, Wilkerson was an accomplished runner for the Saints, qualifying multiple times for the NAIA Championships in both track and cross country.
Wilkerson inherits a men’s program that has won the last four consecutive NCCAA National Championships and a women’s program that won the 2019 NCCAA Outdoor National Championship.