Ray “Rock” Oliver, former UK Men’s Basketball Strength and Conditioning Coach, who is now the Student Engagement & Development Director plays a unique role in this UK Football program.
You may remember seeing Rock celebrate after this dunk by Willie Cauley Stein at Florida on February 7, 2015.
As Rock stands on the sidelines every home game cheering on the Wildcats… there’s a certain mystique about him that draws players towards him. He’s much more than a Student Engagement and Development Director.
I’ve noticed after every game the players gravitate towards him. Rock is always there… ready to give a hug, a high-five, or a pat on the butt to the players.
You may remember me talking about how one UK football player started to charge off the field after the Southern Miss loss at the beginning of the season. Well, who was there to stop that player, hug him tight, tell him not to leave, and talk him back to walk with the team? Rock Oliver. I’ve been around a lot of people when they lose a game, college athletes included, and there’s no way I could talk them down the way I saw Rock Oliver do it. I didn’t take any pictures of it, because it was a personal learning lesson for me.
Even former players have a love for Rock as I was able to capture this photo of Wesley Woodyard hugging “The Rock”.
You see… Rock Oliver not only develops and engages current players, but he grows a relationship strong enough that even former players embrace him. He also impacts those who are watching him, like myself. I have asked several players what they think of Rock. They all say the same thing… “he’s great“, “he’s the man“, “I love him“, and sure enough I heard, “he’s our rock“.
I want to ask you… who would call you their Rock? Who would want to go see you after a big game? Who could come to you to help calm them down after a tough loss? I believe we can all be a Rock Oliver to someone in our lives. I want to encourage you to be that man or woman to those around you and engage and develop relationships with people (at school, work, sports… etc.). You won’t regret receiving hugs like the photo above because you simply cared.
So go… be a Rock.