|Title:||Head Coach/Asst. Athletic Director|
|College:||Appalachian State, 1992|
Having cemented UNCP as one of the perennial contenders in the always-tough Peach Belt Conference with 30-win seasons in each of the last eight years, including a record-breaking 44-12 campaign in 2011, Paul O’Neil will begin his 13th season at the helm of the Braves in 2012-13, having assumed his current position as head coach prior to the 2001 campaign. O'Neil also serves the department as an assistant athletic director.
Despite capturing his 400th career victory in the midst of a record-breaking campaign in 2011 with the Black and Gold, O’Neil’s accomplishments have been multi-faceted over the course of his 16-year collegiate head coaching career. He has provided tutelage to a bevy of outstanding talent on the field, including seven all-Americans, 25 all-region standouts and 35 all-conference selections. In addition, he has been involved in the molding of 27 Major League Baseball draftees, including two at his current stop.
Having attained the distinction of UNCP's all-time winningest coach in 2011, O’Neil’s teams have shattered nearly 90 percent of the existing program records in Pembroke, including 11 marks over the last four years. His tutelage with the Black and Gold has produced five all-Americans, six preseason all-Americans, 17 all-region honorees and 28 all-Peach Belt Conference laurels. In addition to the on-field recognition, the UNCP baseball team has produced 71 PBC Academic Honor Roll awards and has participated in several community service projects in the Robeson County area.
O’Neil began his coaching career at Montreat College where he served as the assistant head coach of the Cavaliers for two seasons (1993-94) before making the move to the Division I level as an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth (VCU). While in Richmond, he was charged with the development of the hitting and defense for the Rams and played a key role in VCU’s run to a 34-22 record in 1996 that also included a third-place finish in the Colonial Athletic Association final standings. His first experience with tutoring a Major League prospect came in Richmond where he would work closely with current Detroit Tigers infielder Brandon Inge who captured CAA Rookie of the Year laurels as a freshman in 1996.
O’Neil inherited a 14-23 team at Shenandoah in 1996 and quickly transformed the Hornets into a contender, parting ways with the Winchester, Va., school in 2000 after leading the club to a school record 31 wins, as well as the culmination of a 14-1/2 game turnaround. While at the helm of the program, O’Neil’s Shenandoah ball clubs shattered 35 school records, six of which still hold true today. His 31-11 club in 2000 produced seven Dixie Conference (now USA South) victories en route to second place finishes in both the regular season and conference tournament. The Hornets would, inevitably, finish among the nation’s top teams in the final ABCA Division III national poll, with O’Neil garnering coach of the year accolades from both the Dixie Conference and the state of Virginia’s sports information association.
In addition to his duties at Shenandoah, O’Neil also managed the Valley Baseball League’s Winchester Royals organization, twice leading the Royals to the league championship series. The team, which produced 25 major league baseball draftees in his three seasons as skipper, took home the league championship in 1997, while also collecting a runner-up finish in 1999.
A standout on the playing field for Appalachian State from, O’Neil earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the distinguished institution in 1992 and later earned his master’s degree in the same field from Western Carolina in 1994. Administratively, he is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and was a member of Kiwanis International’s Winchester, Va., post from 1997-00.
Paul and his wife, Jackie, will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary in August and are the proud parents of three daughters, Katie (14), Rachel (11) and Kellie (6). The family currently resides in Lumberton.