After a few months of searching for a replacement for varsity basketball coach Hunter Thomas, Godwin has found his successor. Coach Jacob Oliver from Meadowbrook high school has agreed to join Godwin’s basketball program as the varsity coach for next season.

Oliver began his high school basketball career at Varina High School. He had a tremendous passion for basketball, but his career as a player did not continue on to the next level.

“I came to the conclusion my senior year of high school that I have been blessed with many talents and abilities; unfortunately, playing at the collegiate level wasn’t one of them,” said Oliver.

Oliver began coaching, working as an assistant in 2002 at Varina. Three years later, he joined Meadowbrook as the head JV coach. After seven years with that position, Oliver was promoted to Meadowbrook’s varsity head coach and spent five years in that position.

While coaching at Meadowbrook, Oliver believes he was taught valuable lessons that allowed him to become a successful coach during his tenure at Meadowbrook.

“I learned that it takes a lot more than knowing X’s and O’s to be a successful coach.  Building relationships with players, parents and the community is just as important as a great record.  Teaching players important things like representing themselves in a positive way, having a tremendous work ethic, being accountable, and sacrificing their own wants for the good of the team are what I’ve learned make the best teams,” said Oliver.

Oliver expects his players to come to work hard every single day and act like gentlemen on and off the court.

“The expectations I have for our team is the same I’ve had for every team I’ve ever coached.  We will represent our school and community in a first-class manner, play and practice harder than we believe we are capable of and look to improve every day.  If everyone in the program is willing to put in the work and put their teammates’ needs ahead of their own, then it will be a successful season. I can’t wait to get started,” said Oliver.

Both the ninth grade and JV programs are critical to Godwin basketball success in Oliver’s opinion. Oliver plans to coach in some of the ninth grade and JV’s practices and games in order to develop a relationship with his future varsity players.

“The 9th grade and JV programs are vital to a program’s success.  We want a player to be exposed to the same coaching and teaching philosophy for the 4 years he plays at Godwin High School,” said Oliver.

Godwin basketball should expect a smooth transition. Oliver and Thomas share very similar basketball philosophies as both preach defense and unselfishness with the basketball.

“Godwin is recognized as one of the best schools in the Richmond area, both academically and athletically. As an educator and coach, having the opportunity to work in such an amazing place will be extremely rewarding,” said Oliver.

Also similar to Coach Thomas, Oliver has found success in his coaching. He held a career 78-57 record at Meadowbrook, was named the Conference 12 coach of the year in 2014, and was the head coach of the 804 all-star basketball team.

Despite the success, Oliver believes he has big shoes to fill.

“Coach Thomas has set the bar extremely high for Godwin basketball and I have very big shoes to fill.  I will come to work every day and work extremely hard to get our players ready for each game. We will be prepared and ready to execute at a high level,” said Oliver.

Coach Oliver and Thomas’s relationship is relatively new, but Oliver has always admired how Thomas has gotten the most out of his players.

“I just recently got to know Coach Thomas.  We played against each other twice this past season.  I’ve always had a great respect for the way he ran his program,” said Oliver.

Overall, Oliver is eager to continue the traditions of Godwin Basketball.

“Godwin is recognized as one of the best schools in the Richmond area, both academically and athletically. As an educator and coach, having the opportunity to work in such an amazing place will be extremely rewarding,” said Oliver.

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©2018 Eagles' Eyrie - the school newspaper for Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA

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