Paul C. Wilkins served as head coach of men’s and women’s rowing for 15 years from 1981 through ’96. A former Colonials rower and coxswain himself (’76-80), he also was an assistant coach for a year prior to assuming the head coaching duties. Wilkins’ achievements as Colonials coach cannot be easily measured. He was a selfless, team-serving mentor who has touched the lives of more than 2000 rowers either as a coach or teammate at GW.
His contributions as a coach have been formally recognized by the highest levels within the sport of rowing. In 1989, he was selected to the U.S. coaching staff for the World University Games at Duisberg, Germany. Since 1984, GW athletes participating in and pursuing national team games and camps – incluging two-time U.S. Olympian and GW Athletic Hall of Famer Michelle Knox Zaloom – have sought and received Paul’s guidance.
A graduate of Yorktown High School in Arlington, Va., Wilkins earned a bachelor’s degree in English from GW in 1981 and since then has been effectively communicating with athletes, students, alumni and the local, national and international rowing communities. In addition, he has used rowing to aid and develop GW worldwide recognition with institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge universities in England and Hitotsubashi and Tokoyo universities in Japan.
Wilkins resides in Long Beach, Calif., with his wife, Jennifer Keene, also a GW crew graduate (’84). Paul now coaches at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif.