Sports Statistician Dean Oliver Hired By ESPN

By Marcus Vanderberg 

Stat geeks, rejoice!

Dean Oliver, the leader in cutting-edge sports statistical analysis, is leaving his position with the Denver Nuggets and is headed to ESPN as director, production analytics.

Oliver will lead a new group (a subset of the stats and information area with ESPN’s production department) comprised of researchers who focus on creating evaluation metrics for all sports.

“There have been quantum changes in the culture of sports teams’ front offices, with a changed focus in statistical analysis to make major personnel decisions, and to bring someone directly from that arena strengthens our team,” said John A. Walsh, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. “As teams and fans become more familiar with the latest in sophisticated analysis of what really matters, it is incumbent upon ESPN to lead the conversation and delve deeper into the process behind the headlines.”

While working for the Nuggets, Oliver provided insight for management on trades, free agency, draft analysis, and coaching issues. He also previously worked for the Seattle Supersonics from 2004-06.

In 1994, Oliver earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in engineering, focused on using statistics to make forecasts.

“Bringing Dean onboard and starting the analytics team is a natural progression for ESPN,” said Edmundo Macedo, ESPN vice president, stats and information. “The use of ‘Next Level’ advanced statistics has allowed us to dig deeper and get beyond the myths to the real ‘how and why’ behind a storyline. Who really is the best clutch player? Was it really such a big gamble to go for it on fourth-and-one? Who is the best all-around player in the game? Dean and the analytics team will allow us to raise the bar even farther.”