University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Greg Gard has filled his coaching staff by naming former Mason City High School and Iowa standout Dean Oliver to replace Lamont Paris.
Oliver, 38, spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois State. The Redbirds went 68-34 during that span, including 28-7 with a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title this past season.
He takes over for Paris, who was named head coach at Chattanooga earlier this month.
“We are really excited to welcome Dean back to the Big Ten and the Wisconsin basketball family,” Gard said 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.”
Oliver was a four-year starter for Iowa at point guard from 1997 to 2001, playing two seasons each for Dr. Tom Davis and Steve Alford. He was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in each of his final three seasons with the Hawkeyes and ranks second in program history in steals and third in assists.
Following his career at Iowa, Oliver played nine seasons professionally. He spent two seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors and also played overseas in Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands and France.
A native of Mason City, Oliver spent time on North Dakota’s coaching staff before being hired at Illinois State prior to the 2014-15 season. Oliver was on the bench when Frank Kaminsky scored a program-record 43 points in UW’s 103-85 victory over North Dakota early in the 2013-14 season.
Oliver worked primarily with Illinois State’s guards. That group included Paris Lee, who was named Missouri Valley player of the year this past season after averaging 13.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.
“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!”
The Wisconsin State Journal is a Lee Enterprises newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin