Ray “Rock” Oliver continues to rise within Kentucky Athletics.
The former Men’s Basketball Strength and conditioning coach has been named the Executive Associate Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Kentucky, according to AD Mitch Barnhart. The news was announced via a press release on Friday.
“With Rock’s background in coaching, combined with his administrative experience, he bridges many areas and will be a valuable member of the executive leadership team,” Barnhart said in the statement. “He understands what student-athletes need. He has great relationships on campus and is passionate about helping lead our diversity initiative.”
Oliver has been involved with the Wildcats since the late 1980s, working as the strength and conditioning coach for the Men’s Basketball team from 1989-92. He also spent time in the same position from 2013-15 and was also the strength and conditioning coach for the Football Team from 2010-12. Along with his new role as Executive Associate AD, Oliver will also serve as the co-chair of UK Athletics’ Diversity Advocacy Committee.
“I left Kentucky after working with the Unforgettables and I spent 20 years trying to get back,” Oliver said in the release. “My family and I consider Kentucky home and I’m honored to have the confidence of Mitch Barnhart as I undertake my new responsibilities.”
The Cincinnati native has spent over four decades working with collegiate and professional athletics. Oliver became just the second-ever Black strength coach in league history to head an NFL team when he was added to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff. He later spent time working back home with the Bengals before returning to Lexington. Oliver has spent the previous five seasons as the UK Athletics’ Director of Student-Athlete Engagement and Development.