In honor of Valentine’s Day this month, the Student-Athlete Alumni Spotlight will present profiles of couples made up of Belmont student-athletes. Our next profiles are of former basketball players, Jenny and Dan Oliver. Both Jenny and Dan played basketball for Belmont from 2002-2006 and each made an impact on their respective programs.
Jenny (Conkle) Oliver is one of the program’s top three point shooters. She ranks in the top-10 in school history in three point field goal makes, attempts, and percentage and is one of 30 women’s basketball players to score 1,000 career points. She also helped the women’s basketball program earn two A-Sun titles and one WNIT berth.
Dan played a key role in the beginning of the men’s basketball team’s rise to national prominence. He played in 105 career games, starting 57 during in his junior and senior years. He helped the program win 72 games over four seasons, earn the program’s first postseason berth (2004 NIT) and win its first A-Sun championship, which led to Belmont's first NCAA Tournament appearance (2006).
Why did you choose Belmont?
Jenny: I was late to the recruiting game, so I had gone to an exposure camp. I got a call shortly after the camp, came on a visit in March, and committed in March. I loved the coaches, the campus, and the idea that it would be warmer than I was used to!
Dan: Very similar to Jenny, actually. Except it may have been April for me. Belmont had already signed three incoming freshmen in the early period, but somehow two spots opened in the spring. Brian “Penny” Collins and I rounded out the class of five incoming freshman.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Jenny: Taking Mercer to overtime my junior year. We won and it was probably the best game of my personal career. I also enjoyed the times we spent as a team on the bus and hotel! There was always fun to be had!
Dan: Of course it was the entire experience of playing in Belmont’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. We played UCLA in San Diego, CA.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
Jenny: Assistant WBB Coach Beth Stark had the biggest influence on me, because she was always pushing me to work harder and learn something new!
Dan: My teammates! Playing sports at the collegiate level is fun, extremely satisfying, and also very hard. The bonds we built starting 15 years ago are still strong today. Though spread out around the country, we make an effort to stay in touch and support each other. For those of us who live in Nashville - we get together with our families on a regular basis.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Jenny and Dan: It is truly a wonderful place and we always feel welcome there. Even now when we go back, we are treated like family! Belmont is a warm and loving place.
What advice would you give to current members of the basketball team?
Jenny: Enjoy the ride, it goes by fast! Work hard every day and always give 110% for your teammates!
Dan: Enjoy the moment.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Jenny: Dr. James Stamper! He was an awesome education professor and he brought us cookies to class!
Dan: Dr. Jeff Cornwall and Dr. John Gonas. These men care about their students and I learned a great deal from them in and out of the classroom.
Where do you live now?
Jenny and Dan: We live in Nashville. We met here and it is half way from our parents’ home for both of us, so it was an easy decision to stay! Our home is in the Crieve Hall neighborhood - right around the corner from current assistant men's basketball coach, Mark Price and former men’s basketball player, Andy Wicke.
Who is your employer?
Jenny: I work at Judson Weekday Preschool. I am a preschool teacher. I teach eight three year olds, two days a week.
Dan: I work at Vanderbilt University in the role of Business Analyst. I consult with our business units (Finance, HR, Development, etc.) to identify and implement process improvement and technology solutions.
Tell us about your family.
Jenny and Dan: We will celebrate our ten year anniversary this June. Whoop Whoop! We have two silly, energetic boys that keep us on our toes! Hayden is five and will begin Kindergarten in the fall and Thomas is three. We love to spend our times outside, being active, and spending time with our family. We love to have people over to our house that we flipped on our own (that was a fun adventure).
Tell us how you met your spouse at Belmont.
Jenny: Dan and I both played basketball so we saw each other at all of the early on open gyms. That is where I first remember meeting Dan. We became great friends the first semester. In the fall, Dan asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with him and I thought he meant the cafeteria, so I just wore my basketball clothes. Well, it turned out he wanted to take me out on a date… We went off campus and ate together and that was considered our first date and Dan saved that receipt-we have it still to this day!
Dan: Our stories always differ on this! I remember meeting Jenny first in “The Caf” while she was eating with her roommate.