Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Jan. 10, 2003

Columbia, SC –

Jerome “Jappy” Oliver, who served on the staff of Air Force’s Fisher DeBerry for eight successful seasons, has been named defensive line coach at the University of South Carolina. Gamecock head coach Lou Holtz made the official announcement Friday.

During Oliver’s eight years as defensive line coach at the Academy, the Falcons participated in five postseason bowl games, won 66 percent of their games, and became a frequent member of the top 25 national polls.

Oliver made a significant impact on the Air Force defense. One of his prize pupils, Bryce Fisher, earned Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1998. Fisher was also the team’s most outstanding player in the 1997 Las Vegas Bowl, and was later drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Oliver also helped turn Shawn Thomas into one of the Academy’s best defenders. Thomas finished his career ranked fourth in school history in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks. In 2000, one of his players, Zach Johnson, was named all-conference and played in the East-West Shrine All-Star game.

“The University of South Carolina is extremely fortunate to bring in a coach the caliber of Jappy Oliver,” said USC head coach Lou Holtz. “I believe he will be an excellent addition to our staff. The South Carolina family, recruits, alums, fans, and more importantly, the players themselves, will quickly realize just how fortunate we are to have someone like him join our program.”

Oliver has previous experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference. From 1991-94 he was on the staff at Vanderbilt, where he helped the Commodore defense set school records for quarterback sacks in consecutive seasons.

Oliver is a 1978 graduate of Purdue University, where he lettered three years in football as a wide receiver. He returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach in 1979-80. He then coached at Eastern Michigan from 1981-82 and Northeastern in 1983. Oliver coached at the Naval Academy from 1984-86. He also has coaching experience at Grand Valley State and Western Illinois.

“Excitement is the word that best describes how I feel about joining the South Carolina program,” said Oliver. “I’m grateful for the opportunity t0 work for someone like Coach Lou Holtz, who is a legend in the coaching profession. The South Carolina program presents a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and going to work.”

Originally from Flint, Mich., Oliver was a standout athlete at Southwestern High School, earning all-city and all-district accolades in both football and basketball. He was the city’s Athlete of the Year in 1973. He and his wife, Maxine, have one daughter, Candace. Oliver also has a son, Justin.