PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the team has signed head coach and general manager Gavin Wilkinson to a two-year contract through the 2009 season. Timbers president Merritt Paulson made the announcement.
In his first season as head coach and general manager in 2007, Wilkinson led the Timbers to their first USL First Division semifinals appearance after finishing the regular season in second place with a record of 14-5-9 (51pts).
“Gavin did a tremendous job in his first year as the Timbers general manager and head coach,” said Paulson. “He has the franchise moving in the right direction, and we are committed to providing Gavin the resources he needs to build upon the success of the Timbers this past season.”
Under Wilkinson, the Timbers recorded an unbeaten record at PGE Park during the regular season (8-0-6) and swept all four exhibition opponents. He also guided the Timbers to the best turnaround season in USL First Division history after the team tied for last in 2006. For his accomplishments, Wilkinson was named the 2007 USL First Division Coach of the Year.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with the Timbers organization in my various roles since 2001 and the different challenges each has presented,” said Wilkinson. “I look forward to the challenge of cementing the successes of the 2007 season. Both the players and I know that 2008 will be a different season and will be challenging due to our recent success.”
Wilkinson has been a member of the Timbers organization since it joined United Soccer Leagues in 2001. As a player, Wilkinson ranks among Timbers career leaders in games (124) and minutes played (10,181) and served as a player/assistant coach during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. During his 13-year playing career, the New Zealand native traveled the world playing in six different countries and earned 38 international caps.
With seven players under contract for the 2008 season, Wilkinson already has a core of returning players from the successful 2007 campaign. Portland’s returning players include forwards Chris Bagley and Bryan Jordan, midfielders Andrew Gregor and Lawrence Olum and defender Cameron Knowles.
Timbers 2008 season tickets, starting as low as $142.50, are now available. The first 100 fans who purchase season tickets prior to Jan. 7 receive a wood slab from Timber Jim’s famous pole at PGE Park autographed by 2007 Timbers players. To purchase season tickets, contact the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555 or click here for more information.