According to sources close to the program, Vance has nominated Keith Wilkes to be its next football coach. Wilkes' hiring would have to approved by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. If approved, Wilkes would replace Phil Culicerto, who coached Vance in 2009 and 2010. Culicerto's 2010 team finished 11-4 and reached the N.C. 4AA semifinals.
Culicerto was forced to resign days before the start of the 2011 season because he hadn't completed requirements to get his teaching certificate renewed. Culicerto later rejoined the staff as a volunteer assistant and offensive coordinator Billy Leeson was named interim head coach.
The Cougars started the season 1-6 amid the coaching issues and a few player transfers. Vance recovered for a four-game win streak to close the regular-season which got the Cougars into the playoffs. Vance lost in the first round to Ardrey Kell.
Leeson indicated he was not interested in continuing as head coach. He is also Vance's dean of students.
Now it appears Vance has found its man.
Wilkes was 139-62-1 at Winston-Salem Carver from 1992-2007. His teams won 11 conference championships, and won state titles in 1998 and 2003.
Wilkes, 48, was part of the 2011 class of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports Hall Of Fame.
Wilkes resigned from Carver in 2007 and took a job at Shiloh High in Snellsville, Ga. He was 9-21 in three seasons before he resigned last season.
Wilkes graduated from North Forsyth High in 1981 and was an All-America offensive lineman at Winston-Salem State in 1985.
Wilkes and Vance athletics director Glenn Blafield were unavailable for comment Friday, but Wilkes told the Winston-Salem Journal earlier this year, just before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, that he hoped to return to N.C. coaching.
"It's the right thing to do, to get back up there and finish it up," Wilkes told the Winston-Salem newspaper. "I have about 10 years left, but that's my main thing, to get back to North Carolina."