Even as the school counted down the days to its closing, Sacred Heart went 31-4, won its second consecutive Non-Public South B title, and reached the state championship game.
For his ability to keep his team together and playing at a high level under difficult conditions, Olson is The Inquirer's South Jersey Softball coach of the year for 2013.
"I had a great group of kids," Olson said. "It's an old cliche, but they were like a family. From Day 1, they were on the same page."
The announcement of the school's closing certainly had an emotional impact on the team. But there was a practical problem, too, as many of Sacred Heart's 11 underclassmen visited other schools during the spring.
"When they would go on school visits, I realized that I had to give them a little leeway," Olson said. "They would come to practice and all the other girls would want to know, 'How did you like it?'
"I would give them a few extra minutes just to sit in the dugout. They needed that."
Although there was no escaping the pending shutdown of the school, Olson said he tried not to focus on it, or use the circumstances to motivate his team artificially.
"I tried not to get them caught up in 'This is the last this or the last that,' " Olson said. "They knew the situation. But I didn't want to always be talking about this being the end. I think that helped."
In 10 seasons, Olson built Sacred Heart into one of South Jersey's strongest small-school programs. He said he might continue coaching at another school, but wants to make sure it's the right situation.
"He's the best coach I've ever had," Dwyer said. "When I was a freshman, I could barely catch the ball. After practice, he would take me to another field three times a week and hit me fly balls until it got dark."
Led by Dwyer and fellow senior Samantha Caterina as well as junior pitcher Rosie LaGrotta, the Lions set a school record for victories and extended the last season in the history of the program to the last possible day.
Dwyer said Olson kept the players focused on softball but also on the opportunity that accompanied the news of the school's closing.
"He had the best attitude through all this," Dwyer said. "He showed us how to handle it the best way we could."
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com.