Kris Wilken celebrates his 200th win with wife, Katie, and their children, Brady and Presley.

Bloomingdale Baseball Head Coach Kris Wilken reached a rare milestone in his 14th season, earning his 200th win as the Bulls’ head man.

“I feel very thankful to the leaders of Bloomingdale High School for trusting me as the leader of a great program that was great long before me,” said Wilken. “I’m very thankful to have the amazing assistant coaches that have been doing this with me for so long. Most of all, I’m thankful for every single player that has come through the program. They won those games, not me.”

Wilken has been an impressive leader at the helm for Bloomingdale since he was hired in 2008. His team won the 2013 Saladino Tournament, the 2018 8A-6 district championship and made a regional championship/state final appearance in 2014. The state final appearance was the first in the program’s history.

Longtime Assistant Coach Frank Lombard has been on Wilken’s coaching staff from the very beginning. He coached at Brandon High School previously with Head Coach Greg Parris when Parris recorded his 200th win in 2000. He witnessed Wilken record his 200th win on February 19—21 years to the day that Parris reached the same feat.

“Kris is well organized in preparing practice plans for each day, both offensive and defense days,” said Lombard. “He also works on all phases of the game in fundamentals in catching the ball, throwing and hitting. He is probably one of the best hitting instructors I have been around.”

Wilken relates well to his players, having been a very successful catcher for the University of Houston and as a prospect for the Baltimore Orioles. Many of his former players come back to join his coaching staff after their playing careers are over. Austin Wilson played for Wilken from 2009-2012, and is now an assistant for Bloomingdale after playing at Eastern Michigan University.

“Kris is successful for multiple reasons, the first of which is that he knows what he’s talking about,” said Wilson. “He’s evolved with the times and changes in the game, and works on his craft to be the best he can be. The second, and arguably more valuable, characteristic is everyone wearing the Bloomingdale logo knows he cares about them as a person, student and baseball player. The family atmosphere he creates, you can’t fake.”

Wilken, who is humbly quick to deflect the attention from himself to his players and coaching staff, remarked that he wouldn’t have been able to reach 200 wins without the great assistant coaches that are 100 percent committed to helping the players become better in every way possible. Tim Malloy is another assistant that has coached with Wilken over the years.

“I’m humbled to be a part of Kris Wilken’s staff,” said Malloy. “People don’t excel by accident, and especially over long periods of time. His knowledge of the game, exceptional work ethic and approach make Kris the winner he strives to make of his players.”

Wilken is, first and foremost, a teacher and a mentor to his players. His main goal is to help his players move on to the next level in college. To date, four of his players have been selected in the MLB draft, including Baltimore Orioles shortstop Richie Martin. Countless players that have played for Wilken have gone on to play college baseball as well.

“I’m looking forward to reaching the 100 players going on to play at the next level goal,” said Wilken. “We have got a ways to go still, but we are getting close.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.