Mark Wilkins, pictured, was hired as the Independence boys basketball coach Wednesday. 

Former South Gibson coach Mark Wilkins has been hired as the Independence boys basketball coach, Williamson County athletics director Darrin Jones announced Wednesday.

Wilkins takes over after Doug Keil resigned in February following two and a half seasons.

“My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Independence family,” Wilkins stated in a release. “We love our South Gibson community, and we are so thankful for our time in Medina; however, we believe that Independence is truly a special place, and we feel a call to this community.”

While Independence reached the 2017 Class AAA semifinals under Greg Glass, the Eagles had three different head coaches in as many seasons before Keil was hired in 2018.

Independence was 6-9 overall at the time of his resignation.

Wilkins produced quick results at South Gibson.

The Hornets had never won a regional game, advanced to a regional championship or advanced to a sectional game until his arrival. Wilkins went 112-68 and guided back-to-back District 13-AA championship seasons, reaching the sectional game in three of the last four seasons.

He was named the 2018 Jackson Sun Coach of the Year.

“We are excited to welcome Mark Wilkins and (wife) Abbey to the Independence family,” Independence High School principal Niki Patton said in the release. “Coach Wilkins is not only a winning coach but will be an inspiring coach for our players. His commitment and passion for the game, along with his integrity, is a winning combination that will strengthen our basketball program and support our efforts to ensure student success in athletics and academics.

“There were a lot of outstanding coaches interested in this position, but we feel Coach Wilkins is a home run hire and a great addition to our community.”

Wilkins has ties to the Nashville area. He graduated from Lipscomb in 2012 and was an assistant at Beech from 2012-15.

His family is its own coaching tree. Wilkins’ father Mitch, who coached his sons in high school in Missouri, has won more than 800 games and now coaches the Gibson County girls.

Wilkins’ two brothers — John (McKenzie boys) and David (Huntingdon girls) — are also in the West Tennessee coaching ranks.

Wilkins and his wife have a 1-year-old son and are expecting a baby in September.

Tyler Palmateer covers high school sports for Main Street Nashville. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Palmateer has covered high school and college sports for nearly a decade. Find him on Twitter @tpalmateer83.

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