Christiansburg lost a veteran head football coach when Tim Cromer resigned after the 2016 season.
Now the Montgomery County school is letting a new man have his first crack at running a varsity program.
Christiansburg officials said Tuesday that the school has given the reins to Alex Wilkens, who has been an assistant coach at Glenvar for the past nine seasons.
Wilkens, 31, is a 2004 Floyd County High School graduate, where he played three years of varsity football under Winfred Beale.
He played college football at Bridgewater College under Mike Clark.
Wilkens served as defensive coordinator at Glenvar under head coach Kevin Clifford. He relinquished that role in 2016 while he was obtaining a master’s degree in educational leadership from Radford University.
“I feel blessed,” Wilkens said Tuesday night after his hiring was approved by the Montgomery County School Board.
“I live here in the community. I thought I’d put my name in the hat and see what happened.”
Wilkens, who will finish the school year as a teacher at Glenvar, plans to meet with Christiansburg’s returning players Wednesday morning.
“My first priority is to meet with the kids and let them get acclimated with me and get them started in the weight room,” Wilkens said.
Cromer resigned after posting a 98-75 record in 15 seasons including a 34-7 mark from 2009-11 culminating in a Group AA Division 4 runner-up finish in 2011.
Christiansburg was 1-9 including a season-ending 70-7 loss to eventual 3A state champion Blacksburg in 2016.
Beale put his stamp on Christiansburg’s hire.
“He’s just a super person,” the Floyd County coach said. “He’s the best of the best. I think he’ll do a great job over there.
“He knows his football. He knows how to get along with people and how to get along with kids. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Wilkens said he will bring influences from Beale and Clifford to the new job.
“Coach Beale is a father figure. The influence he had on me is the reason I’m in this.
“Coach Clifford taught me how to run a program and how to work hard. Between those two, that’s a pretty good start.”