Desmond Oliver Fired as ETSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Marky Billson
4 min readMar 10

It simply had to happen

Marky Billson

It’s refreshing Desmond Oliver is no longer the head coach at ETSU.

Refreshing not in that a man has lost his job. But refreshing in that ETSU’s historic demeanor of telling everyone everything is sensational when it isn’t, so prevalent under former athletic directors David Mullins and Scott Carter, may at last be coming to a close.

Oliver probably wouldn’t have been fired if either of those former athletic directors, both hired because of their internal ties within the athletic department (Carter got his start working in athletics under Mullins) and for little other reason, were still on the job.

Because they never fired coaches. When Murry Bartow, after inheriting a turn-key team to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, followed a conference championship season in his first season with a 10–19 record in his second, he was actually given an extension.

Another Bartow fact. After taking ETSU to the NCAA Tournament with the team he inherited from Ed DeChellis in 2004, his next two teams combined to lose 32 games splitting time in the Southern and less-prestigious Atlantic Sun Conferences. He stayed on for another nine years.

In baseball and softball, the Buccaneers could lose on an annual basis and the coaches would keep their jobs.

New facilities were built with little if any impact, the tennis coach stole from the university, and once football was restored the coach told everyone he was doing things correctly by not signing any junior college players while the team continuously lost and ETSU would tell their fans they were “winning the right way.”

Okay, technically that football coach, Carl Torbush, was hired when Sander was athletic director.

But Torbush was essentially the choice of advisor Phil Fulmer after Fulmer turned down Sander’s offer to guide the Buccaneers’ football revival.

And the point is, to Mullins, the biggest problem the athletic department had were members of the media who might criticize him or cheerleaders who worked at Hooters.

And Carter couldn’t even bring himself to fire his softball coaches last year when players were quitting amidst allegations of abuse and the team went through an abismal 8–48 season.

Marky Billson

Innovative sports media personality.