Desmond Oliver is in his fifth year as assistant coach at Charlotte. Oliver has spent seven years on the coaching staff of three schools that have played in the Atlantic 10 Conference: St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and Charlotte. In those seven years, he helped those schools make four NIT appearances. He helped rebuild programs at both Rhode Island and Charlotte. Oliver also spent five years on the coaching staff at the University of Georgia where he played an integral role in helping the Bulldogs improve in each of its first four years on their way to NIT (2007) and NCAA Tournament (2008) appearances. In 2008, Oliver was also on the staff during one of the most memorable conference tournament runs in history when Georgia won two games on the same day en route to an SEC Championship.
During Oliver’s time at Charlotte, the 49ers have captured the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout and 2014 Puerto Rico Tip-Off titles and earned a bid to the 2013 NIT. Last season, the 49ers received votes in the AP and the Coaches Polls for the first time since December, 2009. In 2013, the 49ers won 21 games which marked the program’s first 20-win season since 2007-08, and with another winning season in 2014, the 49ers posted back-to-back winning campaigns for the first time since 2007. Charlotte has posted a victory over a top 15 team in three of the last four years.
A Buffalo native, Oliver has spent 18 seasons as a Division I coach and has experience coaching on every level of Division I men’s basketball.
Oliver has known Alan Major from his first years in the Atlantic 10 and has always looked up to him.
“I got to know him when I was at Xavier and I’ve known him about 13 years now,” said Major. “He’s done an outstanding job at every stop. He’s got great passion and great energy for the game. He is someone who connects with our team. He’s got a great feel not only for the region, but the east coast in general.”
Oliver graduated from Dominican College in 1992. He was a three-year starter on the team and served as team captain in his final two seasons. He earned his master’s degree from Buffalo State in 1994, while beginning his coaching career as an assistant coach at Turner-Carroll High School.
“I’m really excited about returning to Conference USA,” Oliver said. “Like the Atlantic 10, it’s going to be a conference that will have multiple bid potential for sending teams to the NCAA Tournament. The city of Charlotte and surrounding areas are a hotbed for basketball talent. Georgia, Florida, Texas, Virginia and Tennessee are just a few hours away, but will serve as great recruiting areas for us. You combine that with Coach Major and a great staff that has a history in rebuilding and developing winning programs and the potential to win becomes great. The key to a successful program falls on the strength of its athletics department. We have one of the best in all of college basketball. I love the fact that we continue to work together as we get closer to a return to the NCAA Tournament.”
At Charlotte, Coach Major has allowed Desmond to have a major role in everything from recruiting, player development, game preparation, life skills, academics and community relations. Coach Major believes in developing his assistants into head coaches just as Coach Matta and coaches he worked under did for him.
Oliver is married to Annette Applewaithe and they have two children: Dante (10) and Dallas Oliver (4).