After 12 years and a national championship at Lindsey Wilson College, Chris Oliver has been named head football coach at Georgetown College.
A Blanchester High School graduate, Oliver was 105-34 at LWC where he re-started a program that had been dormant since 1935.
At Georgetown, Oliver takes over for Bill Cronin, who retired after 25 seasons and 210 wins.
Georgetown and Lindsey Wilson are both members of the Mid-South Conference. The two schools are separated by a little over 100 miles. Georgetown is located northeast of Columbia.
In a release from LWC, athletic director Willis Pooler said, “Coach Oliver did a fantastic job during his tenure here. To build a football program from scratch and win a national championship in 11 short years is a remarkable accomplishment.
“Although the winning is great, I mostly appreciate the countless successes he had helping our student-athletes blossom into well-prepared and equipped adults,” Pooler added. “We will forever be grateful for his contribution to our athletics department and institution. He leaves us with the premier NAIA football program in the country and we are excited about the future.”
The Blue Raiders reached the NAIA Football Championship Series National Semifinals for a third straight year this season, finishing the season with a 12-1 record.
On the Georgetown side of things, replacing a long-time, successful coach is never easy. But athletic director Brian Evans feels fortunate to be able to replace Cronin with Oliver.
“It was a daunting task to think of hiring a new football coach,” Evans said. “When someone has been here as long as coach Cronin, built a legacy and a tradition, you have to weigh all your options with those in mind.
“This is a great day for Tiger football and Tiger Nation. Oliver knows how to win, as we’ve come to expect, but he also knows how to shape and mold men in the full student-athlete model we hold in high regard here as well. He’s done exciting things in getting the Blue Raiders going, and I know he’ll be able to keep what we have going here as well.”
In 2010, Oliver restarted a Blue Raider program after 75 years on the sidelines. In the team’s fifth season, LWC was in the national conversation, earning its first postseason bid. This past week Oliver was announced as AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year – his seventh time picking up that honor.
His track record of successful coaching goes beyond his time at Lindsey Wilson, according to the Georgetown press release. He served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and recruiting coach for Ohio Dominican University from 2003-08. The Panthers were 26-7 from 2006-08. In that stretch the team had three consecutive finishes in the Top 17 of the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, and won the Mid-States Football Association championship in 2007, the program’s fourth season, with a 12-1 record. The Panthers set 13 national records and 46 conference records in that time as well.
Before that, Oliver was an undergraduate assistant at Ohio State University, coaching under Jim Tressel and Bill Conley from 2001-02.
Oliver received his Bachelor of Science in education from Ohio State, while earning his masters in business administration from ODU.