Desmond  Oliver

Desmond Oliver

Assistant Coach


Personal Information

Full Name: Desmond L. Oliver
Born: Dec. 4, 1969, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.
High School: DeSales High School (Lockport, N.Y.)
College: Dominican College, 1992
Wife: Annette
Children: Dante and Dallas

Coaching Experience

  • 1994-97:
    Niagra, assistant coach
  • 1997-98:
    Texas A&M, assistant coach
  • 1998-2000:
    Cornell, assistant coach
  • 2000-01:
    St. Bonaventure, assistant coach
  • 2001-04:
    Rhode Island, assistant coach
  • 2004-09:
    Georgia, assistant coach
  • 2009-10:
    Canisius, assistant coach
  • 2010-15:
    Charlotte, assistant coach
  • 2015-Present:
    Tennessee, assistant coach
The 2017-18 season marks Desmond Oliver’s third year as an assistant coach at Tennessee. Before joining the Vols, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Charlotte.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Oliver has spent 20 years in the Division I coaching ranks and has experience in the Atlantic 10 (St. Bonaventure, 2000-01; Rhode Island, 2001-04; Charlotte assistant, 2010-15), Big 12 (Texas A&M, 1997-98), Ivy League (Cornell, 1998-00), Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Canisius, 2009-10) and SEC (Georgia assistant, 2004-09).

A gifted relationship builder, Oliver played a key role in the recruitment of Tennessee’s 2016-17 freshman class, which was responsible for 44 percent of the team’s scoring last season and finished the year as the highest-scoring crop of freshmen in program history (1,040 points).

At Charlotte, Oliver played a major role in all aspects of head coach Alan Majors' program, including recruiting, player development, game preparation, life skills, academics and community relations.

During his five seasons working to rebuild the 49ers program, Charlotte won a pair of holiday tournament titles (2013 Great Alaska Shootout and 2014 Puerto Rico Tip-Off), knocked off three top-15 opponents, posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2007 and received votes in both the AP and coaches' poll. In 2012-13, Charlotte recorded its first 20-win campaign since 2007-08 and earned a berth in the NIT.

He spent the 2009-10 season as an assistant coach at Canisius, helping guide the Golden Griffins to the program's highest single-season wins total in nine years.

Oliver brought with him to Tennessee five years of SEC coaching experience logged at Georgia from 2004-09. The Bulldogs made consecutive postseason appearances in 2007 (NIT) and 2008 (NCAA Tournament). And Oliver was on staff during one of the most memorable conference tournament runs in recent history when Georgia won two games on the same day to capture the 2008 SEC Tournament championship.

Oliver Family Photo

Desmond Oliver, along with his wife, Annette, and their sons, Dante and Dallas.

Prior to his tenure at UGA, Oliver spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Rhode Island, arriving at URI in 2001 with head coach Jim Baron after one season together at St. Bonaventure. In those three years of rebuilding at Rhode Island, the Rams improved from an 8-20 campaign in 2002 to consecutive 20-win seasons and postseason berths.

Oliver broke into the collegiate coaching ranks in his hometown under head coach Jack Armstrong at Niagara University in 1994. While serving the Purple Eagles, he helped recruit Alvin Young, who went on to lead all NCAA Division I players in scoring in 1999 and earn MAAC Player of the Year honors.

Oliver stayed at Niagara for three seasons before accepting an assistant coaching position at Texas A&M (then a member of the Big 12) prior to the 1997-98 season. After one year in College Station, he then spent two years at Cornell (1998-2000) and then joined Jim Baron's staff as an assistant coach at St. Bonaventure for the 2000-01 campaign.

Oliver is a 1992 graduate of Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York, where he was a three-year starter on the basketball team (1989-92) and a two-year team captain. He also earned a Master's degree in student personnel administration from Buffalo State in 1994.

While attending Buffalo State, he began his coaching career as a varsity assistant and head junior varsity coach at Turner-Carroll High School in Buffalo.

Following an outstanding prep career at DeSales High School in Lockport, New York, Oliver played one year at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York, under coach Bill Van Gundy (father of NBA head coaches Jeff and Stan).

Oliver is married to the former Annette Applewaithe and they have two children: Dante and Dallas.



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