DURHAM, N.C. – With 20 years of college coaching experience that includes five conference championships and three black college football national titles, Trei Oliver returns to his alma mater as North Carolina Central University’s 24th head football coach, the university announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.
A native of Yorktown, Virginia, Oliver earned all-conference and all-region honors as a defensive back and punter during his four-year playing career at NCCU from 1994-97. The 1998 graduate later returned to NCCU as an assistant coach from 2003-06, helping the Eagles to back-to-back Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championships in 2005 and 2006.
“It’s good to be back home. It’s good to be back in the nest,” Oliver said. “Central is so special to me because of the great people that I met here as a student-athlete. When you are around good people, it’s easy to be successful.”
Oliver returns to NCCU as head coach after spending the past three seasons (2016-18) as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Southern University. The Jaguars are coming off a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) West division championship and a trip to the SWAC championship game.
In the past 15 seasons as a coach at four different universities, Oliver has been a part of only one season with fewer than seven wins. During that time, he has celebrated 124 victories for an average of more than eight triumphs per year and a winning percentage of .725.
“I want to build a championship culture at NCCU,” said Oliver. “We need to get ‘Eagle Pride’ back in the program. When I talk about Eagle Pride, I’m talking about unity and discipline. If we’ll fight for one another and we have discipline in our program, then the sky is the limit.”
Prior to Southern University, Oliver served as the outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina A&T State University from 2011-15, when the Aggies shared consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships in 2014 and 2015, and were declared the black college football national champions in his final campaign in Greensboro as winners of the Celebration Bowl with a 10-2 overall record.
In four seasons at Grambling State University from 2007-10 as the outside linebackers coach, recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator, the Tigers earned two SWAC West division crowns, and won the SWAC championship game and a black college football national title in 2008 with an 11-2 record.
Oliver’s first coaching stint at NCCU was as a defensive backs and wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator from 2003-06. The Eagles captured back-to-back CIAA championships with consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2005 and 2006, and were crowned as the black college football national champions following an 11-1 season in 2006.
Oliver started his college coaching career at Delaware State University as defensive backs coach and assistant special teams coordinator from 1999-2002.
As a student-athlete at NCCU, Oliver twice led the CIAA in punting, including a 41.7-yard average in 1997, which ranks fifth on the Eagles’ all-time single season list. As a junior in 1996, he was part of a defensive backfield that led the nation (NCAA Division II) in pass defense efficiency. As a senior, he landed two positions on the All-South Region Team, earning First Team honors as a defensive back and a Second Team selection as a punter.
Among NCCU’s career leaders, Oliver ranks 13th with 234 tackles (126 solo), 12th with 31 passes defended (24 pass break-ups and seven interceptions), and fourth with a 39.3-yard punting average. He garnered All-CIAA first or second team honors in each of his four seasons.
Oliver graduated from NCCU in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Grambling State University in 2010.
Both of his parents, Colon and Evelyn Oliver, are also NCCU graduates. His father played football as a wide receiver at NCCU from 1963-66.
He and his wife Yvette, also an NCCU graduate, are the proud parents of a son, Reggie.
Oliver is the third alumnus to lead the NCCU football program, following in the footsteps of Bishop Harris, a 1963 graduate who coached the Eagles from 1991-92, and Herman Riddick, a 1933 graduate who guided the Eagles to a school record 112 victories from 1945-1964.
Oliver’s appointment is a five-year term beginning Jan. 2, 2019, with an annual salary of $185,000.
Courtesy: NCCU Athletics