Dean Oliver, an All-Big Ten guard, nine-year professional and six-year coaching veteran, has been named as an assistant coach on the Wisconsin men’s basketball staff head coach as announced by Greg Gard on Thursday.
“We are really excited to welcome Dean back to the Big Ten and the Wisconsin basketball family,” Gard said in a statement. “I have been impressed with him over the years and after getting to know him better through this process, it became easy to see why he has been so successful in the past as a player and most recently as a coach. Everyone I talked to about Dean had the utmost respect for his leadership, teaching abilities and passion for helping student-athletes. He has a tremendous reputation for building relationships, has great rapport with players and excels in player development, particularly with guards. It’s rare to find a coach with his combination of professional playing experience and coaching ability and I have no doubt he is the right fit for our program.”
“I am extremely honored and excited to be joining the men’s basketball staff at the University of Wisconsin,” Oliver said in a statement. “It is truly a dream to coach at such a prestigious, storied Big Ten program. I can’t wait to get to work with the young nucleus of players as well as the exciting incoming recruits. I am equally as excited to work with and learn from Coach Gard and staff.
“I want to thank Coach Alvarez, Coach Gard and the entire UW staff for welcoming me in. Go Badgers!”
Oliver comes to Madison after a pair of three-year coaching stints at North Dakota (2012-14) and Illinois State (2015-17). In three seasons at ISU, Oliver helped guide Illinois State to a 68-34 overall record, a share of the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and two National Invitation Tournament bids (2015 and 2017). During the 2016-17 season, the Redbirds set program records for overall victories (28) and conference wins (17).
Working primarily with ISU’s guards, Oliver has helped the Redbirds earn multiple Missouri Valley Conference accolades at the guard position, including 2017 MVC Player of the Year and MVC Defensive Player of the Year Paris Lee. Oliver also helped mentor guards DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and Daishon Knight, who both earned All-MVC Second Team honors.
A native of Mason City, Iowa, Oliver spent three seasons as an assistant coach at North Dakota, in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Oliver prospered as a professional basketball player for nearly a decade, including a two-year stint in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. He also served as a standout point guard at Iowa from 1997-2001.
Prior to beginning his coaching career in 2011, Oliver enjoyed a nine-year professional playing career that included two seasons (2001-03) with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. Oliver also saw duty in the NBA Development League and a variety of leagues overseas. Oliver spent his final season playing for JL Bourg in a French league, after playing a season in Slovenia, a season in Croatia, a season in Poland and three seasons with the Eiffel Towers in the Netherlands.
During his collegiate playing career, Oliver started all but two games for the Iowa Hawkeyes, earning third-team All-Big Ten honors after his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Oliver became just the third player in Big Ten history to finish his career with more than 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals.
As a senior, Oliver led the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and assists per game, leading the Hawkeyes to the 2001 Big Ten Tournament Championship and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also led Iowa to the NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen as a sophomore in 1999.
In 2015, Oliver was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association basketball Hall of Fame.
A native of Mason City, Iowa, Oliver earned his degree in business administration from Iowa in 2001. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children: Isaiah and Isabella.