RBCC: Thomas Wilcher

Submitted by mgowill on January 16th, 2017 at 9:00 PM
Per his induction into the Michigan Track and Field Hall of Fame post...
National champion
Four-time All-American
Big Ten champion
Penn Relays champion
One of Detroit's greatest high school stars, hailing from Detroit Central High School, Thomas Wilcher rewrote the state high school record books and was ranked the No. 1 prep high hurdler in the country. He was also an outstanding football player.
Recruited to Michigan by Bo Schembechler, the demands of football did not slow down Wilcher on the track come national championship time. Highlighted by winning the 1986 NCAA indoor title, he also earned outdoor All-America honors three years in a row (1985-87). Other major victories included winning the 1986 Penn Relays and 1987 Big Ten Outdoor 110m high hurdles. He still holds the school record at 13.52, which he set in 1985.
After college, Wilcher took over the reigns as the head football and track coach at Detroit's Cass Tech High School. He has been named Detroit Free Press Coach of the Year in football and his track teams have won three state titles to date. Among his individual champions is current Wolverine Nick McCampbell.
Also told Urban Meyer off over the Mike Weber ordeal.


Mr. Yost

January 16th, 2017 at 9:08 PM ^

I don't think it'd be a bad hire at all. I'm interested to know what those who've seen him coach would think. I would also be interested to know what they thought about Wilcher vs. Hart. I personally love both options.

Hart (don't care about what he said about Harbaugh) brings youth and energy and I actually think he and Harbaugh are cut from a similar cloth. Hart is going to work his ASS off - no question.

WIlcher brings more coaching experience, can relate to HS coaches, obviously knows the position and will be able to recruit Detroit.

I also think he'd be great in Tony Tuioti's old role.


January 16th, 2017 at 9:57 PM ^

He was considered instrumental in helping Fleck bring in three consecutive no. 1 rated MAC classes to WMU, the first considered the greatest recruiting class in MAC history. He has a natural charisma that is evident upon first meeting him. As Fleck said, "Having a Heisman caliber recruiter on staff played a major role in our recruiting success." 

As you stated, as he proved on the football field, he did whatever it took for success, including suiting up vs. MSU while clearly hurt and had  a day. Always blocked much larger than he was. Although his professional career wasn't nearly that of Wheatley's, he obviously maximized his ability and his success as a collegian is still remembered by those players who were just taking a seriou interest in the sport when he was running wild for the wolverines. Would definitely, like Wheatley, enjoy the recognition for his on field success. Think the recruits would find it challenging to work for the player holding the records they all want to surpass. 

Mr. Yost

January 16th, 2017 at 9:13 PM ^

Developing RBs should outweigh a connection to Cass. Michigan is always going to get kids from Cass. Obviously it's more of a lock with Wilcher, but I'd much rather see the progress of guys on the roster like I saw under Wheatley.

Wheatley had De'Veon Smith doing things I never thought I'd see him do in my life. Like teleport.


January 16th, 2017 at 9:17 PM ^

He would know high school football in the state and have many recruiting connections. If he can coach football and track, he can coach college running backs. Honestly all he needs is Harbaughs approval and I'm sold.


January 16th, 2017 at 9:44 PM ^

...I was on his first track team at CT and as fellow UM alums, we are very close. 

He LOOOOOVES Michigan, but there has been no contact. 

He feels it will be a much younger coach to get this job. 

So, he should be on the sidelines at Cass (whom he told me is getting a new turf field soon) this fall. 


Navy Wolverine

January 16th, 2017 at 10:10 PM ^

Thomas Wilcher kind of reminds me of Perry Watson. For those who are perhaps a little younger or may not remember, Watson was the legendary basketballl coach from Detroit Southwestern High School in the '80s back when I was growing up and was a HS basketball player in Metro Detroit myself. His Detroit SW Prospector teams were unbelievale. Watson churned out dozens of D-1 hoops players including guys like Jalen Rose, Antoine Joubert, Leslie Rockymore, Anderson Hunt (UNLV) Howard Eisley (Boston College) and Voshon Leonard (Minnesota). I used to go to Michigan's basketball camp every summer and would be in total awe at all of the Southwestern kids and how good they were.

Michigan also had a really good pipeline estabhlished with Bill Frieder and subsequently Steve Fisher. In fact, when Fisher recruited Jalen as part of the Fab 5, he also hired Perry as one of his assistants (I guess this tactic wasn't invented by Harbaugh). Perry was on the bench for the first two years of the Fab Five ('91-'93) and was then hired by Detroit Mercy where he had a respectable 15 year run as their head coach.

Unfortunately, Detroit Southwestern was never the same after Perry left. They barely produced another D-1 basketball player after '91. In fact, some could make the case that Detroit high school basketball - once one of the greatest talent hot beds anywhere - has never been the same once Watson went to Michigan. Detroit talent played a huge role in M's success in the '80s and '90s.

Wilcher has been so successful at Cass Tech that I wonder if they would experience the same fate if he moved up to Michigan. I have no idea who else is on their staff or would succeed him but coaches can have such a huge impact at the high school level. I'm sure this would be a great opportunity for Thomas and he is a great coach. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


January 16th, 2017 at 11:00 PM ^

I wouldn't be opposed to this if coach Harbaugh thinks Wilcher is the best available man for the job. I am extremely interested to see who Harbaugh hires. I think Hart is better suited for recruiting, though I confess I don't know much about coach Wilcher or his personality. Next few weeks should be exciting.


January 17th, 2017 at 10:01 AM ^

Obviously a great coach at CT.. On the recruiting side he probably isn't know at all outside of Michigan.  But after a year of coaching Michigans running backs that would change.


January 17th, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

has done some remarkable things with ridiculous talent and perhaps it has more to do with structure and order and the little things he does with talent that arrives at CT than being an exceptional technique coach. Unforgettable quote by coach Woody " you got to be fast to be fast" and Wilcher has had that luxury. Love the guy we coached against each other in track for years, he was one of our coaches when I was with Michigan, I much prefer him in Detroit continuing to build talent.