Former two-time national champion Huskies wrestler Daniel Olver has served as head coach of the University of Saskatchewan’s team since 2013. (Photo:

Daniel Olver: The consummate coach

Daniel Olver brought his love of wrestling to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) when he joined the Huskies in 2006. He also brought his determination to win and to be the best student-athlete he could be.

By Taryn Milton

His first year as a university student-athlete was a bit of a shock, as he learned how to manage his time on the mat as well as in the classroom.

“I suffered a few blows with the marks my first year, but got it back up in my second, third, fourth and fifth years when I was an All-Academic with the Huskies. But first year, I wasn’t. That was a knock against me (and) I had to learn and grow from that,” said Olver, who had tremendous support from his then-girlfriend, now-wife Lindsay.

“When you get exposed to how you actually are compared to what you think you are, you have to really figure out how you’re going to evolve and be better.”

Olver, who is from Saskatoon, not only went on to be a Canadian Interuniversity Sport Academic All-Canadian with the Huskies, but was also featured in a Top 10 Moment in Huskie Athletics history after winning five straight Canada West championships and earning five medals at nationals: two gold, two silver and one bronze.

Winner of Most Outstanding Wrestler honours in Canada West, Olver also won three major awards with the Huskies. As for the academic side, Olver graduated with great distinction and was the top of his class in the Indigenous Studies department.

“I did a lot of good things in wrestling, but at the end of my degree I really wanted to try to be the best at everything. So, with Indigenous Studies, although it’s a smaller department, I put in the work and I wanted to have great marks there, so that was a cool feather in the cap,” said Olver.

After graduating, Olver continued wrestling as a senior athlete and served as the Aboriginal sport co-ordinator with the Coaches Association of Saskatchewan where he worked to increase the number of trained Indigenous coaches in the province.

Olver, who is Métis, went on to take over as the interim head coach of the Huskies wresting team in 2013 and officially assumed the permanent role in 2015.

Over his seven years with the team, Olver has been working hard to help his wrestlers win a U Sports team title, win an Olympic medal, secure a permanent facility to practice in, and create pride on campus for Huskie Athletics. He has also helped train local Indigenous athletes in the Youth Leadership Through Sports Program, a partnership between the College of Kinesiology, Huskie Athletics and the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

And his efforts have not gone unnoticed. He’s been named coach of the year three times in the Canada West conference, and this year was also selected as coach of the year in U Sports wrestling, as well as coach of the year for Huskie Athletics.

“When I was an athlete I wanted those golds. That’s all I was after,” said Olver, who is quick to share credit for his accolades with his assistant coaches and support staff. “Second wasn't good enough and so as a coach that competitive nature hasn’t changed, it just looks different.

“So (when) my athletes win, you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, but you still want those little things along the way.”