Charlie Wilkes spent 40 years at CCRI, hired as a math professor in 1967 and was an assistant basketball coach under Vin Cullen for 30 years, until 1997. In testament to his statewide influence and hometown pride, Wilkes holds a seat in a number of Halls of Fame, including the North Providence Hall of Fame, CCRI Athletics Hall of Fame, International Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame and the RIC Athletics Hall of Fame. He was also honored by the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. He won countless awards, including the Words Unlimited Bill Cawley Achievement Award in 1997 and the William “Bill” Kutnieski Memorial Basketball Heritage Award, an honor based on distinguished contributions that have brought honor and prestige to the game of basketball.
In addition to his teaching and coaching roles, Charlie was also the first director of the Knight Campus field house (now named the Vincent A. Cullen field house) when it opened in 1972. He continued in that capacity and also directed the intramural sports program until 1981.
A native of North Providence, Charlie was a tremendous athlete in his own right. He was an outstanding point guard at North Providence High School and later went on to excel in basketball and soccer at Rhode Island College. He tallied more than 1,000 points in his basketball career at RIC. For his accomplishments, he was named to RIC’s 75th Anniversary Basketball Team.
At CCRI, Charlie was an integral part of the successful CCRI Knights men’s basketball program. During his tenure as Cullen’s top assistant, the team posted a 580-216 record. The two coaches led the Knights to six regional titles, and four national tournament appearances, including a second and third place finish.
Upon retiring from his coaching role in 1997, Charlie began serving as the department’s Athletics Academic Coordinator and undertook further development of the Student-Athlete Academic Support Program. His work with the program has bolstered the academic performance of hundreds of athletes, enabling them to grow as students and develop the academic discipline to complement their athletic prowess. In addition, Charlie was the first coordinator of CCRI’s Kids College program.