Thomas E. Wikiera
Year Inducted: 2013
Thomas E. Wikiera was the Rhode Island College women’s volleyball team’s first-ever head coach and is still regarded as one of the greatest coaches in the program’s history. He led the upstart Anchorwomen from 1977-82 and amassed a sterling 125-60-3 record during his six-year tenure.
During his last two seasons, the Woonsocket, R.I. native led the program to a 47-9 record in 1981 and a 36-4 mark in 1982. Wikiera’s Anchorwomen went undefeated against divisional institutions from Halloween of 1978 until Oct. 7 of 1982, a span of nearly four years. In fact, his Anchorwomen held a record of 7-9 against Div. I opponents, a record of 18-20-1 against Div. II opponents, and remarkable 85-5-1 record against Div. III opponents since 1979 when divisional play was initiated.
Rhode Island College was a perennial power in the E.I.A.W. Tournament and qualified for the National Championships from 1980-82. The Anchorwomen were seeded seventh overall going into the 1981 Championships and ended up with the second place trophy. Under his guidance, RIC was ranked No. 1 in New England several times and was ranked in the top 10 in the country on one occasion.
A native of Woonsocket, R.I., Wikiera played football at Woonsocket High School before attending the University of Rhode Island. Wikiera started the volleyball team there, and was named to the 1972 All-New England Team, while his Rams finished third in the New England Collegiate Championship that same season. The team also played No.4-ranked ranked Ohio State University from whom they took one game during the match, a rare loss for the Buckeyes. His volleyball career started at the Woonsocket YMCA where he played from 1965-1980, winning 9 consecutive New England Championships and adding a 10th in 1981 with the Providence Turner club.
Upon his graduation from the University of Rhode Island in 1973, Wikiera also served as an assistant volleyball coach at Woonsocket High School from 1976-77 and then as the head coach from 1980-84. His teams recorded a pair of State Championships after going 44-0 during the 1976-77 seasons, while his teams also went undefeated in 1982 and 1984. Woonsocket earned the State Championship in 1984, while Wikiera finished with a record of 84-13 as the head coach. He was named the Northern Rhode Island Coach of the Year in 1980, 1982 and 1984.
Wikiera resides in North Attleboro, Mass. with his wife Mary Ann, son Matthew and daughter Julie. He currently works as a Financial Services representative for New York Life.