Thirty years ago, Joey Wiles was learning, in his words, how to “grow from a boy into a young man” at Troy University.
Today, Wiles, a member of the class of 1981, is passing forward the lessons he learned to hundreds of young men and, in the process, earning a reputation as one of the top high school football coaches in the nation.
In 1996, Wiles took over a losing program at St. Augustine (FL) High School and led the Yellow Jackets’ return to prominence. SAHS has won nine district championships in the last 10 years, making Wiles the all-time winningest football coach in school history. This decade of excellence includes five final four appearances, two state runners-up and a 3A state championship in 2005.
With a career winning percentage of 71 percent (187-76), Wiles’ legacy is secure as one of Florida’s all-time elite high school coaches. He is more than decade away from being eligible to collect full Social Security benefits, but Wiles has already been voted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association and St. Johns County halls of fame.
The hall-of-fame coach gives his alma mater plenty of credit for his achievements.
Wiles said three former professors – the late Virginia Watson, anatomy professor Margaret Browder and former physical education instructor Don Jeffrey, now vice chancellor of Troy’s Dothan Campus -- were instrumental in his academic career.
“Troy gave me the tools to succeed in the classroom as a teacher,” Wiles said. “I will always be proud to say I graduated from Troy. It changed my life.”
One of the life-changing events Wiles experienced at Troy was meeting classmate Lydia Swails. They have been married almost 30 years and have two daughters, Kristen and Jessica. Wiles said his other life-changing experience was pledging Delta Kappa Epsilon social fraternity.
“Those guys (DKE brothers) helped me academically and helped me grow up,” Wiles said.
Wiles said he is enjoying his coaching job at SAHS, but upon retirement he plans to teach at Flagler College and “enjoy the many benefits of living in St. Augustine.”
About Joey Wiles
Hometown: Melbourne, FL
Education: Troy University (1981); master’s degree from the University of South Alabama (1985)
- 1982-83 – Assistant coach, East Coweta (GA) High School
- 1984-86 – Assistant coach, Melbourne (FL) High School
- 1987-1994 – Head football coach, Melbourne High School
- 1994-95 – Head football coach, Fort Pierce Central High School
- 1996-present – Head football coach, St. Augustine High School
- State of Florida’s 3A Coach of the Year (three times)
- State of Florida’s overall Coach of the Year in 2005
- Head Coach, North South Shrine Bowl
- Florida Athletic Coaches Association Meritorious Service and Life Membership Awards