Oliver hired to lead Huntingdon wrestling program

Oliver hired to lead Huntingdon wrestling program

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West and Director of Athletics Eric Levanda announced the hiring of Matt Oliver on Wednesday as the new head wrestling coach.

Oliver comes to Huntingdon after four seasons as the head wrestling coach at Spartanburg Methodist College in South Carolina.         

"The addition of collegiate wrestling to our intercollegiate athletic program has brought to Huntingdon some exceptional student-athletes who have performed well in the classroom, on the wrestling mat and in leadership roles around campus," West said. "I look forward to working with Coach Oliver to continue the legacy of success of our wrestling program."

A 2012 graduate of Newberry College, Oliver has spent the past seven seasons as a collegiate coach.

"Matt came highly recommended to us. He's an East Coast guy who has grown to love the South and has recruited our state for a few years," Levanda said. "Our program has made gains each year of its existence and based on Matt Oliver's experience and passion for the sport, that trend will continue. I'm looking forward to the next chapter for Huntingdon wrestling."

Oliver takes over a Huntingdon program entering its sixth season. During this past season, the Hawks set their program record for dual-match wins with eight.

"I want to thank President West and Director of Athletics Eric Levanda for this opportunity," Oliver said. "I am also grateful for all the people at Spartanburg Methodist College who have taken a chance on me and helped me grow, not only as a coach but as a professional as well. This is an incredible opportunity and it is a chance to take the next step in my career and in my life.

"Huntingdon has all of the support and tools it needs to be a successful wrestling program. We want to build on what has already been done for the program and continue to improve in all aspects."

During his four seasons with Spartanburg Methodist, Oliver guided the Pioneers to their first North East District II team championship, coached four National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans and 19 NJCAA national qualifiers. Oliver was named the 2018 North East District II Coach of the Year.

Before Spartanburg Methodist, Oliver spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Neosho Community College in Kansas. The Panthers finished fifth in the NJCAA national tournament in 2014 and eighth in 2015. Fifteen Neosho wrestlers qualified for the NJCAA national tournament and nine earned All-American honors during those two seasons.

Oliver began his coaching career at his alma mater as an assistant wrestling coach during the 2012-13 season. During that season, Newberry won its sixth straight Super Region championship and finished sixth in the Division II national tournament. The team produced four All-Americans and five Academic All-Americans.

Prior to coaching, Oliver was a four-time Division II national qualifier for Newberry. He earned All-American honors in 2009 with a third-place finish in the national tournament. He finished with a career record of 118-21 and holds the Wolves' career record for major decisions. Oliver graduated from Newberry with a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in coaching.

A native of Toms River, N.J., Oliver was a high school state champion and finished his career with a record of 132-12. As a senior, he set a state record for wins in a season.