Jerome “Jappy” Oliver

2004 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee


Parents: Jerry and Adrienne Oliver
Daughter: Candace
Son: Justin

Jappy grew up on Flint’s south side and attended Pierce and Scott Elementary, Whittier Junior High, and graduated from Flint Southwestern. While at Southwestern, Jappy was a standout athlete, earning All City and All District honors in both football and basketball. In 1972 Jappy was selected to the Saginaw Valley football All Star first team.

In basketball he was rated as one of the finest back court men in the Saginaw Valley Conference. In the 1972-1973 basketball season, Jappy was selected to the Saginaw Valley All Star first team.

He also played baseball in the spring and was the city’s Athlete of the Year in 1973. Jappy’s high school football coach and mentor, Dar Christiansen, said Jappy was a good all around performer and a smart ball player.

After graduating from Flint Southwestern, Jappy attended Purdue University where he excelled in sports. He lettered three years in football as a wide receiver. Jappy graduated from Purdue in 1978. His first coaching job was at Davison High School in 1978 as an assistant under his old high school coach, Dar Christiansen. Jappy continued honing his coaching skills as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Purdue, from 1979 to 1980.

His coaching career went on to include coaching the running backs at Eastern Michigan University in 1981-1982 and a short stint at Northeastern in 1983, coaching ouside linebackers.

He received his first taste of service academy football in the Navy where he coached the defensive line from 1984 to 1986.

Jappy spent a one year stint at Grand Valley State and two years at Western Illinois before going to Vanderbilt. While at Vanderbilt, 1992-1994, he helped the defense set a school record for quarterback sacks in back-to-back years. From 1985-2002, he served as defensive line coach at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (CO), under head coach, Fisher DeBerry.

Some of his coaching achievements were: 1979-Won the Blue Bonnet Bowl championship at Purdue. Received South Eastern conference coach of the year award at Vanderbilt; 1995-Tied for the Western Athletic Conference, for the second time ever at the United States Air Force Academy; 1996-Selected to work fall camp with the San Diego Chargers defensive line; 1998-Selected to work fall camp with the Dallas Cowboys defensive line. WAC and OAHU Bowl champion Air Force Academy; 2000-Silicon Valley Bowl champions Air Force Academy; 2001-Selected to work fall camp with the Miami Dolphins defensive line.

Jappy and his family live in South Carolina where he is the defensive line coach for the University of South Carolina under head coach Lou Holtz.

Update 2005: Jappy now serves as defensive line coach for the University of Notre Dame under head coach Charlie Weis.

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