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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published September 03 2010

Oliver returns to face D-G-F as a former Glyndon-Felton coach

GRAND FORKS – Twenty-five years ago, Scott Oliver coached the Glyndon-Felton Buffaloes to a Minnesota Class C football state championship in his first year as a teacher and coach.

In a way, Oliver’s coaching career, which also includes a state boys hockey championship at Roseau, has come full circle.

Oliver, in his first season as head coach at East Grand Forks, will return to Glyndon tonight to take on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at 7 p.m. in the season opener for both teams.

No one’s asking Oliver for another state championship this season, but the former Canadian Football League player is responsible for trying to turn around a program that boasts just four wins in three years.

“We have a group of 20 seniors that want to be a part – to leave their mark – as the team that started Green Wave football back on the right track of being a respectful, competitive program,” Oliver said.

Oliver, a successful boys hockey coach at Roseau from 2003-09, inquired about the position at East Grand Forks to be closer to his wife, who lives in Crookston.

He inherits a program that went 0-9 in 2007, 2-7 in 2008 and 2-7 again in 2009.

The Green Wave haven’t had a winning season since 2004, when East Grand Forks went 14-0 and won the Class 3A state title behind the big-play offense of quarterback Nick Mertens, wide receivers Nate Rambeck and Casey Solem and running back Chad Larson.

So Oliver’s first order of business as Green Wave head coach? Recreate some of that 2004 magic.

Oliver made calls to Roger Hanson and Mike Mahar to encourage the former offensive and defensive coordinators to return to East Grand Forks after not coaching the past few seasons. Both agreed to rejoin the Wave.

“You have to surround yourself with good people,” Oliver said. “That’s the start of making good things happen.”

Oliver’s second order of business was to develop an offseason workout program.

“We got summer weights going with 25-30 guys lifting all summer long,” Oliver said. “Once the staff was in place, we had to get a commitment to the offseason workouts. I feel like those are two significant changes.”

With a throwback staff in place, the Wave will revert to the offense that saw so much success in 2004. East Grand Forks had implemented an option offense last season.

But the Green Wave will go back to a shotgun look featuring multiple formations.

“We’ll be diverse with the run and pass,” Oliver said.

Defensively, East Grand Forks will utilize a 4-3 (four down linemen, three linebackers) set.


Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald