Dean Wilkins is a former midfielder who was born in Hillingdon on 12th July 1962. Dean is the younger brother of former England international and Manchester United star Ray Wilkins and former Chelsea defender Graham Wilkins. Dean started his career at QPR in 1980, but only made two appearances for the club. After a spell in Finland with MYPA, Wilkins moved to Brighton and then Leyton Orient but failed to make any significant contribution at either club. It wasn't until a three year spell at Dutch club FC Zwolle, which began in 1984, that Wilkins was able to enjoy an extend run of first team football.
Wilkins rejoined Brighton in 1987. The midfielder helped Albion gain promotion to the 2nd Division in his first season at The Goldstone Ground. Wilkins missed out on the chance to play in the top flight with The Seagulls when Brighton lost the 1991 2nd Division play-off final to Notts County. Dean scored Brighton's only goal in that match, which ended 3-1 to County. Wilkins remained a Brighton player until 1996. He made 331 appearances in total for The Seagulls and scored 31 times.
After spending many years as the clubs youth team coach, Wilkins was handed the position of caretaker manager at Brighton in September 2006. By the end of that same month Wilkins had been awarded the job on a permanent basis. Wilkins led The Seagulls to an 18th place season in his first season in charge at League 1 side who were relegated from the Championship the previous campaign. Despite narrowly missing out on the play-offs in 2007/08, a 7th place finish wasn't enough for Wilkins to save his job. He was replaced by Mickey Adams in May 2008.
Wilkins was named Alan Pardew's assistant manager at Southampton on 31st July 2009. Wilkins helped Saints to a 7th place finish and Johnstone's Paint Trophy win. When Alan Pardew was sacked on 30th August 2010, Wilkins remained at the club and was appointed caretaker boss. Unfortunately, all three matches Dean was in charge for ended in defeat. He lost his first match in charge at home against Swindon on August 31st, 3-0 in a 1st round Football League Trophy clash, which had a nasty atmosphere with fans reacting angrily to Alan Pardew's departure one day earlier. The other two defeats came against Rochdale and against Swindon again in the league. Although these results were poor, Wilkins couldn't shoulder too much of the blame. All three games saw Saints create enough chances to win comfortably, but poor finishing let the side down. That said, some fans turned on Wilkins in the Rochdale game when he subbed Alex Chamberlain to bring on Joseph Mills. Wilkins remained at the club when Nigel Adkins was appointed manager on 12th September 2009, becoming the clubs first team coach. Adkins praised Dean's loyalty shortly after being named the new boss at St Marys.
In October 2011 Guly Do Prado praised Wilkins, saying his coaching had improved him as a player to a great extent.