GRAMBLING, La. — Lindsey Wilson football head coach Chris Oliver has been named the American Football Coaches Association-NAIA National Football Coach of the Year, AFCA officials announced Monday morning.
Oliver’s Blue Raiders play in the program’s first-ever NAIA National Championship game tonight against Northwestern (Iowa). Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium on the Grambling University campus.
Oliver is a graduate of Blanchester High School.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be selected for this award from the AFCA,” Oliver said. “Head coaches get a lot of credit when things are going well, but awards like this happen due to the hard work and sacrifice of players and assistant coaches. Our guys have sacrificed and invested more than ever to meet the unique challenges of this season. This is a team award, and I’m very blessed to lead this team.”
Oliver led Lindsey Wilson to its fourth Mid-South Conference divisional title this season with a perfect 7-0 record to earn the Mid-South Conference’s automatic bid into the NAIA Football Championship Series. The Blue Raiders have reached the NAIA FCS six times in the 11-year history of the program — all under Oliver’s direction.
Lindsey Wilson enters tonight’s championship game ranked in the top-10 in 16 different statistical categories, including second in points per game (46.4) and sixth in scoring defense (14.5).
In April, Oliver was selected as one of five AFCA regional coaches of the year. It is his sixth AFCA regional honor.
Oliver’s Blue Raiders have posted eight straight winning seasons, including winning double-digit games five times. Lindsey Wilson has won 24 of its last 25 games dating back to the 2018 season.
In 11 seasons, Oliver boasts a 92-33 overall record, including a 50-15 mark at Blue Raider Stadium.
According to the AFCA, the current balloting procedure involves the selection of five regional winners who become a finalist for national coach of the year. Joining Oliver as finalists were Concordia’s (Mich.) Joshua Schumacher, Grand View’s (Iowa) Joe Woodley, Morningside’s (Iowa) Steve Ryan, and Arizona Christian’s Jeff Bowen.