Jerome "Jappy" Oliver, who served on the staff of Air Force's Fisher DeBerry for eight successful seasons, is in his second year at the University of South Carolina, and coaches the defensive line.
Oliver will once again have a pair of all-star candidates to work with in 2004 - junior Moe Thompson and senior George Gause. Thompson was chosen honorable mention All-SEC by the Associated Press last season and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week following his sterling performance in the victory over #15 Virginia. Gause is gearing up to have his best year to date as a Gamecock.
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.
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.
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 (10). Oliver also has a son, Justin (15).
THE JAPPY OLIVER FILE