Wilkerson, born in San Antonio was a senior in high school before picking up his first tennis racquet. “My brother and his friend used to play tennis on weekends and they always tried to get me to go along. One day, I don’t remember why, I decided to go with them.” The next week John tried out for his high school tennis team. He not only made the team but beat everyone on it. He went on to win district and state singles and doubles title that same year. From then on, Wilkerson more or less forgot all other sports, and concentrated on tennis. He enrolled at Prairie View A & M and got a tennis scholarship. Unfortunately, he also neglected his schoolwork and found himself academically ineligible and made the decision to join the Airborne 8th Brigade. After two and a half years in Germany he had a better sense of direction and planned his future with education first and tennis second. After graduation from TSU John became the Tennis Director at MacGregor Park and there he found his real passion, teaching young people on and off the court.