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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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The Wilkerson love story: Chris and Sharna

Sharna+Wilkerson+smiles+at+her+husband+Chris+Wilkerson+during+an+interview+in+O%E2%80%99Brien+Stadium.+
Patrick Schmitz
Sharna Wilkerson smiles at her husband Chris Wilkerson during an interview in O’Brien Stadium.

Love can stem from anywhere, even on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. 

That’s where Eastern’s head football coach Chris Wilkerson met his wife Sharna Wilkerson. 

The Wilkersons were both student athletes at Eastern when they first met. 

Chris Wilkerson played football at Eastern while Sharna Wilkerson was a catcher for the softball team. 

“Well, we had been student athletes on campus together, and Eastern is such a tight-knit community that most of the student athletes know each other,” Sharna Wilkerson said. “So, we knew each other pretty much all along. But it was I think my junior year. We had class in the same building, and I would get done with class and walk to the locker room to go get ready for practice. And [Chris] was always standing there in the hallway.” 

Sharna Wilkerson caught Chris Wilkerson’s eye first. 

He made sure to wait for her just to get to talk to her a little bit, and it did not take long for Chris Wilkerson to catch Sharna Wilkerson’s eye as well. 

“He looked good in a football uniform,” she said. “That didn’t hurt.” 

The couple started dating shortly after, and it was love after their first kiss for Chris Wilkerson.

Chris and Sharna Wilkerson have been married for 29 years. (Patrick Schmitz)

“So, the first time that we went on a date, we went to a movie at the old Will Rogers Theatre, so there used to be a movie theater downtown,” he said. “It was like $1.50 movies or something like that. This is before the show place in Mattoon. Anyway, so we went on that date, and you know, I thought it went well myself. I take her back to her place, and I got my first kiss so for me that’s what I knew for sure.” 

They got engaged after only nine months of dating and married after 18 months of being together. 

The Wilkersons have been going strong. They will be married for 30 years in 2025. 

“We have a big one coming up neck next year, not this year, but 2025 will be our 30th,” Sharna Wilkerson said. “We would like to take a trip to Greece. I would really like to see the Greek Islands.” 

Chris and Sharna Wilkerson like to have experiences for their anniversary gifts. 

For Valentine’s Day, however, the small things are what they will cherish the most. 

“Jewelry [is] always a good thing,” Sharna Wilkerson said. “I don’t know too many people who don’t like that. But I have cold feet all the time, and he got me a foot warmer for underneath my desk because both he and my oldest child like the house pretty chilly. So, and I’m old, that means I’m always cold. So, the foot warmer socky things were good.” 

Chris and Sharna Wilkerson don’t need the big things to be happy for Valentine’s Day. All they need is each other and time together, they said. 

“We have a hot tub now,” Sharna Wilkerson said. “First time we’ve ever had a hot tub, so we do like to take a drink to the hot tub and just relax down there. But it doesn’t have to be anything too lavish, you know? Could be watching the night of Netflix shows or going to the movies out here, try a different restaurant.” 

The couple also have three kids including EIU freshman defensive lineman Peyton Wilkerson. 

For Valentine’s Day, they made sure to not forget the kids either. 

“It’s not like one that goes over the top, you know,” Peyton Wilkerson said. “My parents still make it known, like getting us those little heart boxes of chocolate, and like every morning, dad will get my mom some flowers and do some stuff with each other.” 

Chris and Sharna Wilkerson make sure to have a wonderful day full of experiences and gifts to each other. 

Valentine’s Day is another day for them to show their love for each other in many ways. One of those ways is usually flowers, however they both like something a little sweeter. 

“With a physique like this? Chocolate for sure.” Chris Wilkerson said. 

Through college and beyond, Chris and Sharna Wilkerson stuck together through it all.  

“She is an amazing, amazing woman. She’s absolutely the best partner in the world,” Chris Wilkerson said. “She’s so caring and giving and loving, and I’ve been really blessed to spend almost 30 years with the queen.” 

  

Patrick Schmitz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Patrick Schmitz, Sports Reporter
Patrick Schmitz is a freshman sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News. 

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