A product of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rob Wilcher found some of his earliest soccer success at the city’s Mt. Lebanon High School. Coached by his father, Wilcher led the Blue Devils to a first state championship for the school (and western Pennsylvania) in 1981. He also attained individual recognition as a two-time All-State selection and a senior Parade All-American. But while his father and brother chose to stay home and eventually have outstanding prep coaching careers, Rob moved south, continuing play at Appalachian State. For the Mountaineers he would be a three-year captain, a three-time All-Southern Conference selection, a two-time All-South player and the school all-time leader in assists. In 2006, he would be honored with induction into the Appalachian State Athletic Hall of Fame. And the Keystone State’s loss continues to be North Carolina’s gain, as Coach Rob Wilcher is recognized as a member of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.
Wilcher’s high school coaching career began at Morganton Freedom in 1987, where he would win three conference championships in his seven years. But it was a move to TC Roberson in Asheville in 1995 that would come to define his coaching success, as the Rams teams, both boys and girls, would emerge as one of the top programs in the state for the next two decades.
On the boy’s side, Roberson captured 15 conference championships and were regional runners-up five times. At the highest level, the Rams won state titles in 2002 (28-0 record, #1 national ranking in NSCAA poll), 2003 and 2013. They were also state runner-up in 1996. The program produced five All-Americans and 11 All-South players and saw several players work up to the professional level or go into high school soccer coaching. Coach Wilcher’s record here was 557-73-24. For the girls, he would end with a mark of 441-79-27. His teams would win 16 conference titles, be regional runners-up 6 times and finish as state runners-up 6 times. From this highly respected program there would be five All-South and 21 All-State players over a period of twenty years.
Rob Wilcher’s individual recognition includes many conference and regional honors. He was a State Coach of the Year eight times and South Region COY twice. More notably, he was a two-time National COY (2002 for boys and 2008 for girls) and was also named Sectional Coach of the Year by the National High School Federation in 2014.
Outside of Roberson, Wilcher has coached in the East/West All Star game, the Clash of the Carolinas and the NSCAA All American game. He has served on the board of the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association for a number of years and helped start the High School State Games Soccer event, coaching the West team from 1998-2010. He is also extremely well-known in the Asheville community for the many soccer camps he has conducted and the number of Rams players that have gotten involved with them.
On September 30, 2015 TC Roberson defeated AC Reynolds 2-1 in boys soccer. The game was significant because it was win number 1000 in Coach Wilcher’s coaching career at Freedom and then Roberson. It was left for Coach Patrick Gladys of Reynolds, a former Wilcher assistant, to sum up his mentor’s impact: “He (Wilcher) is the absolute best I have ever seen in getting his teams ready to play and making in-game adjustments…. Wins against Rob are hard to come by because of what he has instilled in these kids: tradition, excellence, character.”