Michigan State football hires Thomas Wilcher as director of community, high school relations

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Michigan State football made it official: A former Wolverine is joining Mel Tucker's staff.

Detroit Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher, who played running back at Michigan in the 1980s and has become one of the most successful high school coaches in the state, has been hired by MSU as director of community and high school relations, the school announced on Wednesday.

He will be tasked with building and coordinating "relationships with key groups in the state of Michigan to enhance the reach and engagement of Spartan football in the community."

“I’ve known Coach Wilcher for nearly 20 years. His experience coaching, teaching and mentoring youth throughout his entire career have had a tremendous impact on students in Detroit who have gone on to make a difference in the state and across the country. Our program is looking to have an expanded presence in the community and Thomas is the perfect person to maintain and strengthen strategic partnerships for Michigan State football.”

Wilcher led Cass Tech to three state championships (2011, 2012, 2016) and another runner-up finish, winning 190 of his 260 games over 23 seasons.

The Free Press learned of MSU's plan to hire Wilcher last month.

“I always said it would be amazing if someone would hire my head coach,” Belleville coach Jermain Crowell said last month; he served as Wilcher’s defensive coordinator for seven seasons. “He’s been saying it for years, he wanted to coach and get to the college level.

“Somebody found value in him, sounds like.”

Wilcher has had eight players drafted by NFL teams and Cass Tech is one of five state high schools that had multiple active NFL players last season.

Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michael Onwenu, William Campbell and Joe Barksdale are some of the Technicians who have played in the NFL.

This offseason, another former Wolverine-turned-high school coach, West Bloomfield's Ron Bellamy, was hired by U-M.

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State football officially hires Thomas Wilcher