Dean was born in Freeport, Illinois on July 11, 1942 to “Hack” and Hazel Wilson. He graduated from Freeport High School in 1960 where he played football, basketball and baseball. He then played one year of football at Northern Illinois University under the coaching of Howard Fletcher.
Wilson graduated from NIU with a major in mathematics education in January of 1965. He taught for 1-½ years at Lockport West High School in Illinois followed by a four-year teaching and coaching experience at York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.
In August 1970, he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Elkhorn Area High School. His experiences at Elkhorn included coaching football with Paul Yanke (also a WFCA hall of Fame Inductee), assistant wrestling coach for 24 years and a short stint as the varsity baseball coach.
In 1994, Wilson became the head football coach at EAHS. During his 15 years as head coach, his staff and teams compiled a 102-53 record. They won the Southern Lakes Conference Championship 7 years and qualified for WIAA playoffs for 12 years. The list of outstanding football athletes that were coached by Wilson and went on to play football at the next level and/or coach football is extensive.
Wilson ran the Elkhorn Recreation Program for 23 years and is currently completing his 13th year as Elkhorn’s Athletic Director.
Dean met his wife, Kathi, at Freeport High School. His family includes 7 children, Mike, Annette, Craig, Scott, Karen, Kate and Jake. At last count the couple had 13 grandchildren. Dean and Kathi also just celebrated their 50h Wedding anniversary. “Life is good!”
Some of the coaches whom he worked with in his 39 years of coaching at EAHS were Paul Yanke, Steve Simonson, Randy Ridout, Jeff Gahart, Jim Sesing, Paul Martell, Ross Gahart, Jack Barron, Paul Manriquez and Tom Lee. “The commitment and contributions that these coaches and our athletes made to Elkhorn’s football program can make any head coach look good,” said Wilson.