Who’s who in Marshall Athletics: Thomas Olivier

Thomas Olivier_MS
Thomas Olivier

The Marshall University Men’s soccer team stood gathered at the end of practice receiving final instruction and motivation from head coach Bob Gray. Assistant coach Thomas Olivier attributes his time coaching at Marshall University solely to Gray.

“I was working for the West Virginia Soccer Association for Coach Gray, and he had an opening on his staff last minute because Michael Nissim, the old assistant, was going to law school,” Olivier said when asked about his transition to the Thundering Herd. “It happened on a spur of the moment.”

Olivier is beginning his eighth season as the assistant coach at Marshall. Previously, he was at the Ann Arbor Arsenal youth club as a coach and a director of coaching. In 2006, Olivier moved to West Virginia to work for the WVSA. Although he is an assistant coach, he still works for the WVSA as an assistant director of coaching. His primary role with Marshall University is recruiting and day-to-day operations.

The two get along and both have a love of soccer, the two coach from different ends of the spectrum. Olivier surmised that while Gray operates from a motivational and positive standpoint, Olivier takes a very critical approach to the game. The two create a balance in that aspect to where players are reminded of how much talent they have and display, but that they always have room to improve and become greater. The opposing styles may be a result of where the two come from.

Olivier was born in France, where he had been playing soccer since he was five. The vast majority of Europe, and a majority of the world views soccer as its number one sport. His favorite team is Paris Saint-Germain. Although they are not regularly televised in the United States, Olivier’s love of soccer shone through as he recalled the tougher times the club faced years ago, to its unprecedented dominance of the past few seasons.

While Marshall University would not be a similar juggernaut that the French club is, Olivier believes this club is capable of winning. “Without disrespecting anybody in the conference, we’ve been our own worst enemy the last few years, whether it comes to a slow start, or we shoot ourselves in the foot, but if we can stop beating ourselves, we should be fine. We’ve always competed in the conference but we seem to always get to a point where we are on the bad end of a 1 – 0 or 2 – 1 game.” Olivier added emphasis on how important this year will be to the team with the conference tournament being played at Huntington.

Joseph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected].