The Virginia athletics department announced Thursday that Jon Oliver, executive associate athletics director, is leaving the school. His final day at UVA is Sept. 15.
Oliver had worked in his position since 2001 with his primary responsibility being the oversight of the day-to-day operations of the athletics department. He plans to pursue opportunities in sports leadership development.
“Over the past 15 and a half years I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of coaches and staff in an environment that put academics and the holistic development of student-athletes first,” Oliver said in a news release. “I am incredibly grateful to Craig Littlepage for the opportunity to work at the University of Virginia. I believe in the mission of the athletics department and I believe it is positioned for success in the future.
“There are a number of interesting challenges and opportunities at UVA moving forward, but after careful consideration and discussions with my family, it is time to pursue another passion of mine and that is working with future leaders in sports to help them pursue their dreams through personal and professional development. I will always cheer for the University of Virginia and look forward to watching the ongoing chase for Uncompromised Excellence.”
The “Uncompromised Excellence” brand statement came to UVA athletics in 2002 following a strategic planning effort by the department. Oliver played a significant role in that branding effort as well as other significant changes in facilities, academic support, and the hiring process for coaches like men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett and baseball coach Brian O’Connor. He played a key role in the building of the John Paul Jones Arena and the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility as well as other facility upgrades.
Critics point to Oliver’s involvement with the football program on items such as “The Building of a Program” video series, coaching hires, and scheduling. The football program has struggled since reseating Scott Stadium in 2008. In the nine seasons since, the Hoos have posted only one winning season in 2011. Attendance and season ticket sales have dwindled throughout that time period. Bronco Mendenhall is the third coach in charge of the program since 2008 as Al Groh finished out his tenure before Mike London took over the job.
Oliver’s decision leaves Virginia at an interesting point in its athletics history. UVA athletics director Craig Littlepage has worked at his post since 2001 as well and while an official retirement date has not been announced, at 66 years old, he is likely nearing the end of his tenure too. Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan is preparing to end her tenure at the end of her contract in 2018. The decisions on these various posts undoubtedly will influence the athletics department in a major way.
The goal, of course, is to sustain recent success while also improving the department. Since 2001, Virginia has won an ACC-leading 76 conference titles and 13 NCAA team championships while graduating an average of 94 percent of student-athletes that complete their eligibility at the school.