Brandon Wilkes’ Coaching The Farmers Was ‘Clearly Meant To Happen’

THE BIGGEST DRAW FOR BRANDON WILKES, Wheat Ridge High School’s new physical education teacher, was the opportunity to coach the Farmer Football team. PHOTO: BRENDA RITZ

Wheat Ridge high school is proud to welcome Brandon Wilkes to the Physical Education team and coaching staff for the Farmers Football team. 

The Wilkes family rolled into Wheat Ridge on July 30 of this year. At the time the family consisted of Brandon, his wife Jessica, Bennett (who is currently a sophomore at Wheat Ridge) Noah (a sixth grader) and the soon-to-arrive Klein (a baby girl born in October). Not to be forgotten was a litter of Dachshund puppies on the way as well.

“Jason Campbell, who is our new athletic director here, was incredibly supportive of having me come here,” said Wilkes. “He and I just clicked right away. Once he offered me the job, everything just fell right into place.

“My wife Jessica closed her thrifting business and got a teaching job in Jeffco, we were able to secure a scholarship to the Dawson school for Noah, we sold our house in Kansas City, closed on our home here and I was on the field, meeting the players and coaching all in the matter of a few weeks. It was crazy, but was clearly meant to happen just how it did.

“When looking for a job I was really excited about the idea of working in Jeffco public schools and especially at Wheat Ridge.”

The biggest draw for Wilkes was the opportunity to coach the Farmer Football team.

“I just love the ‘one school, one team’ idea that Jason Campbell is a champion for. That slogan is the idea that we are a unique community here in that we are a town surrounded by a bunch of large communities and towns, but we just have the one high school to rally around.”

Wilkes is determined to meet some lofty goals here in his new position.

“When it comes to the athletic program and especially football, I want to create a first-class program. One that is a model for other schools to emulate. We have some surprises up our sleeves for the team next year, too, that we are excited for.”

Wilkes has high hopes for the school’s athletic department and feels that the powerlifting club that he has implemented will be a great supplement to those goals.

“I hope that this club is a catalyst for the sport here in Colorado. Almost no schools here do it. I miss the experience we had at my last school. I am hoping to get kids from all over the area to come join us no matter what their gender, size, interests… athletes or non-athletes… all are welcome.”

His passion for fitness and teaching has taken him across the country and back.

“I taught and coached in Lyons in 2012 through 2016. During that time I was able to witness the Farmer football team go to state. They were just a power house back then. So, when I was looking to relocate back to Colorado and saw that Wheat Ridge had a position open, I jumped at the chance to come here and try to help get the football team back to that former glory. I intend to bring some championships back here”

Coach had his work cut out for him when he came to the Wheat Ridge team. It had been a tough few years for the team and school post pandemic. 

“I am just really excited to help this team continue to succeed. The Farmers had 18 consecutive losses when I walked in. Our first game of the 2022 season was the first win in a long time and it was just great to be a part of that. We went on to win two more games last season. Rounding it out with a win in our final game against Littleton in the middle of a snow storm. It was really amazing to watch the kids progress and build that passion for the team and game.

“One of the things that really already makes us unique is we have hired a character coach. Not many high schools have that. But we felt like the program needed it. Coach Chuck is a great mentor that helps keep the focus on the whole student athlete. This program is about developing strong men on the inside as well as the outside.

“Outside of my professional goals, I just strive to be a great father and husband. I am a man of faith and try to implement that in building a character-based family that trickles into all aspects of my life. The overall sentiment is around creating a legacy around building up students and the program that enhances the reputation of Wheat Ridge and our High School’s athletics program”  

Upon reflecting upon his goals, Wilkes had this to say: “When I was going through some of my dad’s stuff after he passed recently I found a quote he had written down that read ‘Encourage one person everyday.’ If I can at least accomplish that, then I feel like I am doing something right.

“The path here to Wheat Ridge has been a crazy one for our family, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Each place that I have been has taught me something to bring into this position. The unique experiences have made me a better father, husband, coach and teacher. I am happy to say that I am truly home here. I am not going anywhere.”

THE FARMERS WON THEIR FINAL GAME OF THE SEASON against Littleton in the middle of a snow storm. “It was really amazing to watch the kids progress and build that passion for the team and game,” said coach Brandon Wilkes. PHOTO COURTESY BRANDON WILKES

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