May 14, 2021

Desmond Oliver departs Rocky Top for ETSU

Tennessee Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Desmond Oliver is departing Knoxville to become the next Head Coach at ETSU. In 2019 Oliver was one of the frontrunners for the Kennesaw State position but remained with the Vols. Last week he was rumored to be one of the candidates to be Head Coach for Winthrop and Austin Peay, but ultimately, those jobs went to other people. Finally, Oliver has a landing spot and will be the Head Coach in Johnson City.

In his 26 years at the Divison 1 level, Oliver has been an Assistant Coach at Niagara, Texas A&M, Cornell, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, Georgia, Canisius, Charlotte, and Tennessee. This will be the first time he will get to lead a program in his career, and it comes in an interesting scenario.

The ETSU Men’s Basketball program has come under the national spotlight in the past week after their previous Head Coach Jason Shay resigned. While nothing official has come to light, it is believed by players and reporters that Shay was forced out for supporting his players’ decision to take a knee during the anthem.

Regardless of what happened, Oliver is an excellent choice for the job as he had been known to help elevate a program. Currently, one player has already transferred, and seven more are in the portal looking for destinations. Oliver was the lead recruiter for Corey Walker, Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bone, and John Fulkerson and was able to bring them to Rocky Top, so he definitely has the skill set to get those players back out of the portal by not just being a great coach but being a great role model as well while leading the Bucs back to Mid-Major prominence.

Oliver becomes the 2nd Coach to depart Barnes staff. Kim English left the program on March 23rd after being announced as the Head Coach for George Mason. At this time, there are no frontrunners to fill their positions, but as we have seen in the past, that can change in a matter of days.

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