PISCATAWAY, NJ – Deane Oliver, who was a standout wrestler at Rutgers University before serving for 30 years as an assistant and then head wrestling coach for the Scarlet Knights, passed away yesterday at the age of 71.
Oliver resided in Washington Crossing, PA. He is survived by his wife Shirley, sons Doug and Deane III, grandsons Kyle and Matthew and daughter-in-law Denise Oliver.
Oliver spent 30 years "On the Banks" as a coach with the Rutgers wrestling program. From 1960-69, he was an assistant coach under head coach Richard Voliva. Following Voliva's retirement, Oliver took over as head coach in 1969 and held that position until he was succeeded by current head coach John Sacchi in 1990. During his 21-year tenure as head coach, Oliver guided his teams to 14 EIWA Conference Championship appearances, and retired with an overall record of 158-147-9, including six double-digit win seasons.
As an undergraduate at Rutgers, Oliver earned three letters as a varsity wrestler from 1954-56, and was an EIWA place-winner in the 130-pound weight class. He also represented Rutgers at the national championships in 1955.
Oliver also coached both of his sons during his tenure as head coach. Doug Oliver was a letterwinner from 1977-1980, was an EIWA place-winner under his father's tutelage and was a two-time recipient of the Ted Petty Most Valuable Wrestler Award (1979 and 1980). In 1980, while wrestling for his father, Doug became the 10th wrestler in Rutgers history to earn the Donald Leslie Coursen Award, given to the school's Most Outstanding Male Athlete. Deane Oliver III lettered for RU in 1979 and 1980 and was recognized as a solid contributor during his career with the Scarlet Knights.
A memorial service will be held on June 3, at 10:00 a.m. at the Kirkpatrick Chapel in New Brunswick, NJ.