Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Red Wilkins, JC '60, All-American

Red Wilkins (Taylor Dovention Wilkins, Jr.), A.A. 1960, serves as president of the MMI Board of Advisors. He is a principal in the law firm of Wilkins, Bankester, Biles, and Wynn, P.A., with offices in his hometown of Bay Minette, Alabama, plus in nearby Fairhope and Robertsdale. A man of many talents, Red is especially noted for being an outstanding athlete in high school, at MMI, at Alabama, and with the Denver Broncos.

Red Wilkins at the May 1, 2009, MMI Board Meeting on campus. (Credit: MMI Alumni Office)

Born and raised in Bay Minette, Red graduated from Baldwin County High School in 1958. An all-around athlete, he earned a total of ten letters in football, basketball, and baseball. An All-State football player, Red also co-captained the team.

Entering MMI in 1958, Red graduated with the A.A. degree in 1960. While at the Institute, he served as a cadet master sergeant (first sergeant) for “C” Company, was a member of Morgan’s Raiders and the Monogram Club, made the Commandant’s List, and earned two letters each in football and basketball, and one in baseball. Playing both offensive and defensive end in football, Red was selected as a Junior College All-American.

On the basketball court, the six foot-plus Wilkins played a key role in MMI earning a trip to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchison, Kansas. He was also selected for the 1959-1960 NJCAA All-Region Basketball Team.

In 1992, Red Wilkins was inducted into the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Hall of Fame.

Cadet Master Sergeant Wilkins of “Charlie” Company. (Credit: 1960 Orange and Black, MMI yearbook)

Wilkins played football for two years for Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama. He again played both offensive and defensive end. Red was a member of the 1961 national championship team which played in the Sugar Bowl in 1962. He also played for the Denver Broncos.

Graduating from Alabama in 1963 with the B.A. degree, Red entered the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, where he completed his J.D. degree in 1966, and was admitted to the Alabama Bar. Red was President of his Senior Law Class. He then spent two years as an Army captain, including one year in Vietnam as an advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion.

Returning from the war to Bay Minette, Red Wilkins served as County Attorney for Baldwin County, plus began his own law firm – what is today Wilkins, Bankester, Biles, and Wynn, P.A. He is a past president of the Baldwin County Bar Association (among other legal honors), and has served as a scoutmaster and as an elder and Sunday school teacher in the First Presbyterian Church of Bay Minette.

Red Wilkins is married to the former Judy Richardson of Bogalusa, LA, and they have three children.

Red Wilkins and COL Jim Benson at the 2007 MMI Golf Classic, sponsored by Red Wilkins at Steelwood, in Loxley, AL. (Credit: MMI Alumni Office)

Red Wilkins and Chancellor Bradley Byrne at the 2008 Veterans Day Celebration in Birmingham. (Credit: MMI Alumni Office)

Finally, Jim Benson once remarked to me that before he even met Red Wilkins, he had a long telephone conversation with him. Remembering Red’s deep Southern drawl and Good Ole Boy persona, Jim was surprised to meet a tall, rather distinguished-looking gentleman, elegant in a Hart, Schaffner & Marx tailored suit complete with silk tie with dimple! Red Wilkins has what the military calls “Command Presence.” He is also one of MMI’s finest graduates.