JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – On Friday, in a move that took some by surprise, ETSU parted ways with head men’s basketball coach, Desmond Oliver, after two seasons leading the program.
Buccaneers’ Director of Athletics, Dr. Richard Sander, admitted two years is a short amount of time for a head coach to make his or her mark. However, he believed the move was necessary.
“Every college basketball player wants to compete for championships and play meaningful games in March,” Sander said Friday. “We really weren’t getting to that level.”
The Blue and Gold finished 15-21 in the SoCon over the last two seasons and failed to win a conference tournament game in that span, as well.
But, Oliver’s departure from the program does not necessarily mean his assistant coaches will leave, as well. In fact, Sander hopes that some of them will stay – although the situation with a new, incoming coach can be tricky.
“I think the assistant coaches have a really strong relationship with the players,” Sander said. “That was one of the things that was pretty evident when I did this evaluation [of the program].”
“The one thing – you have to be a little bit careful about is when a new coach comes in, you don’t want to tie their hands too much,” he continued. “But, like I said, I will advocate very strongly for the assistant coaches who are here.”
First-year assistant coach, and former Buc, Joe Hugley has been named interim head coach following Oliver’s departure.
Mark Bialkoski and Vince Martin also serves as assistants under Oliver during the 2022-23 season. Bialkoski joined the staff in 2021, while Martin came aboard in April 2022.