COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Chris Oliver has been named Lindsey Wilson College's football coach.
Oliver will be responsible for resurrecting a football program that has been dormant since the end of the 1935 season. Lindsey Wilson's first game under Oliver is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2010, at home. Lindsey Wilson will compete in the NAIA as a member of the Mid-South Conference.
Oliver comes to Lindsey Wilson after five years as assistant coach at Ohio Dominican University. He was the program's offensive coordinator for the last three seasons. This is Oliver's first head coaching job.
"My family and I are humbled and excited to have been blessed with this opportunity at Lindsey Wilson College," Oliver said."We look forward to making the college and Columbia-Adair County our home."
Oliver, 27, said he and his wife, Wendy, were impressed with the foundation the Lindsey Wilson administration laid in order to bring football back to the liberal-arts college.
"Lindsey Wilson's decision to bring back football was thoroughly researched by the administration, and the search process was first-class from start to finish," Oliver said."Everyone did a tremendous job of making us feel right at home.I am excited to begin working with the many great people on our campus, and I have no doubt the administration will provide our program with the tools necessary to compete at a very high level."
Lindsey Wilson President William T. Luckey Jr. said he was impressed with the quality of candidates who expressed interest in the job, but Oliver "was clearly the best candidate."
"We had several outstanding applicants from which to choose, but I am thrilled we were able to hire Coach Oliver to direct this program," Luckey said. "He is a high-character, high-quality individual who will bring great passion and enthusiasm to our campus. He understands the role of intercollegiate athletics at a liberal arts college, and he knows the important role of our mission."
This will be the second time Oliver has been charged with building an intercollegiate football program. He was a member of Ohio Dominican's inaugural staff when that program was created in 2004.
"I am excited that Chris Oliver will direct our football program," Lindsey Wilson Athletics Director Willis Pooler said."He has the ability to build a program the Lindsey Wilson community and the citizens of Columbia-Adair County will be proud of and excited to support."
As ODU's offensive coordinator, Oliver developed the Panthers into one of the NAIA's top offenses.
In 2006, Ohio Dominican was third in the NAIA in total offense and passing offense. In 2007, the Panthers led the NAIA in total offense and passing, and they were second in scoring. Last season, Ohio Dominican was third in passing and 11th in total offense.
The Panthers were 26-7 while Oliver was ODU offensive coordinator, which included an appearance in the 2007 NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinals.
"He played an integral role in the start-up of the highly successful program at NAIA power Ohio Dominican," Pooler said. "He understands the importance of building a program with student-athletesof highcharacter that will represent the college wellin and out of the classroom. He is also very familiar with NAIA and its rules and regulations and the highly competitiveMid-South Conference."
Oliver will lead the Blue Raiders in the Mid-South Conference Eastern Division when they begin intercollegiate play in 2010. Lindsey Wilson will be the 15th team in the MSC's two divisions.
"I am excited to be a part of the Mid-South Conference," Oliver said. "The MSC plays a very high level of football and it is recognized as one of the most competitive conferences in the NAIA. The Blue Raider football program will only enhance the conference's respect and prestige."
Prior to ODU, Oliver was a student-assistant at The Ohio State University under coach Jim Tressel. Oliver helped coach the Buckeyes' tight ends and worked closely with recruiting.
At Lindsey Wilson, Oliver said he plans to utilize Kentucky as his primary recruiting base.
"While we will pursue qualified prospects from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and other states, our recruiting base will always be the Commonwealth of Kentucky," he said. "I look forward to building relationships with the 224 football-playing high schools in Kentucky."
And Oliver hopes to turn those relationships into a quality football program that will produce quality student-athletes.
"The Blue Raider football program will have three main goals," he said. "The first is to graduate our young men from Lindsey Wilson College while preparing them to be responsible citizens and fathers.The second is to win the Mid-South Conference Championship and the NAIA National Championship.The third goal is to have a positive impact on the community around us.
"We will find young men who are driven to be successful not only in athletics, but in their academic and social lives as well."