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Kevin O'Neill Biography
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 01, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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With almost 30 years of coaching experience on nearly every level of basketball, Kevin O'Neill rejoined the Arizona men’s basketball staff, May 1, 2007, after originally serving as an assistant coach from 1986-89.  O’Neill proved to be a stellar recruiter, as the Wildcats routinely inked top-10 recruiting classes.  In his three seasons in Tucson, Arizona posted an 82-19 (.812) record, won two regular season and two postseason Pac-10 championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.  The 1987-88 edition of the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four in Kansas City, Mo.

O’Neill, 50, returned to college basketball after spending the last seven seasons in the National Basketball Association as a head coach, assistant and consultant.  In that span, his teams made five NBA playoff appearances with the 2002-03 Detroit Pistons advancing as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.  He was last a head coach in 2003-04 with the Toronto Raptors.  Most recently, O’Neill served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers in both 2005 and 2006.


O’Neill’s coaching career began in 1979-80 as the head coach at Hammond High School in Hammond, N.Y.  He jumped to the junior college ranks a year later, organizing North County Community College program in Saranac, N.Y.  Within two seasons the program earned a berth in the Region III junior college playoffs.


He then took the head coaching position at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, O’Neill guided the Marauding Eagles to a 17-14 (.548) record.


NCAA Division I jobs followed at the University of Delaware (1983-85) and Tulsa (1985-86).  In his lone season at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane went 23-9 (.719), won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship and advanced to the 1986 NCAA Tournament.


O’Neill left Tucson following the 1988-89 campaign to take over the head coaching duties at Marquette University.  In five seasons with the Golden Eagles, he compiled an 86-62 (.581) record and led the squad to three postseason appearances.  O’Neill was named Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in both 1993 and 1994, and Marquette led the nation in field goal percentage defense in those seasons as well.  The ’93 team won 20 games for the first time in eight seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.  The ’94 club went 24-9, won the Great Midwest Conference regular season championship and made a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing to the Southeast Regional semifinal.


From 1994-97, he was the head coach at the University of Tennessee.  Inheriting a team that had won just five games the year before, O’Neill had the Volunteers playing in the National Invitation Tournament in two years (1996).  He posted a 36-47 (.434) record in Knoxville. 


O’Neill moved onto Northwestern University, where he guided the Wildcats from 1997-2000.  He tallied a 30-56 (.349) record with NU, guiding the 1998-99 squad to a 15-14 record and an NIT appearance.  It was just the third postseason appearance in school history for Northwestern and the program’s third winning season in the previous 29 years.


From there, O’Neill jumped to the NBA, where he served as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks in 2000-01 and the Detroit Pistons in 2002 and 2003 before becoming the head coach in Toronto in 2004.  The Raptors went 33-49 (.402) in O’Neill’s one season, finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.


Born Jan. 24, 1957, O’Neill earned his B.S. in education from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) in 1979.  He was a three-year letterman for the Redmen from 1975-78 and helped McGill total a 52-35 (.598) record in that span.  His 1977-78 club posted a school-record 28 wins and advanced to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship tournament.


O’Neill earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Marycrest College in 1983.  He is married to the former Roberta Elder.  O’Neill has one son, Sean (20).



Born:  Jan. 24, 1957, in Malone, N.Y.

Hometown:  Chateaugay, N.Y.



B.S. in Education, McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1979

Master’s in Secondary Education, Marycrest College (Davenport, Iowa), 1983


Playing Experience

Three-year letterman at McGill University, 1975-78

                     Led Redmen to a 52-35 (.598) record in those three seasons, including a school-record 28-5 mark in 1977-78.  That season McGill also advanced to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship tournament.


Coaching Experience

1979-80                   Head Coach, Hammond High School, Hammond, N.Y.

                              1979-80:  15-6 (.714)


1980-82                   Head Coach, North County Community College, Saranac, N.Y.

                              1980-81:  5-13 (.278), first year of program

                              1981-82:  record unavailable, Team qualified for Region III junior college playoffs


1982-83                   Head Coach, Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa

                              1982-83:  17-14 (.548)


1983-85                   Assistant Coach, University of Delaware, Newark, Del.

                              1983-84:  11-16 (.407)

                              1984-85:  12-16 (.429)


1985-86          Assistant Coach, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.

                              1985-86:  23-9 (.719), Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Champions, NCAA Tournament


1986-89                   Assistant Coach, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

                              1986-87:  18-12 (.600), NCAA Tournament

                              1987-88:  35-3 (.921), Pac-10 Regular Season and Tournament Champions, NCAA Final Four

                              1988-89:  29-4 (.879), Pac-10 Regular Season and Tournament Champions, NCAA Tournament


1989-94                   Head Coach, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.

                              1989-90:  15-14 (.517), National Invitation Tournament

                              1990-91:  11-18 (.379)

                              1991-92:  16-13 (.655)

                              1992-93:  20-8 (.714), NCAA Tournament

                              1993-94:  24-9 (.727), Great Midwest Conference Champions, NCAA Tournament

                              Five-Year Totals:  86-62 (.581)


1994-97                   Head Coach, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.

                              1994-95:  11-16 (.407)

                              1995-96:  14-15 (.483), National Invitation Tournament

                              1996-97:  11-16 (.407)

                              Three-Year Totals:  36-47 (.434)


1997-2000      Head Coach, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

                              1997-98:  10-17 (.370)

                              1998-99:  15-14 (.517), National Invitation Tournament

                              1999-2000:  5-25 (.167)

                              Three-Year Totals:  30-56 (.349)


2000-01                   Assistant Coach, New York Knicks (NBA), New York, N.Y.

                              2000-01:  48-34 (.585), Third Place, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference


2001-03                   Assistant Coach, Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit, Mich.

                              2001-02:  50-32 (.610), First Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

                              2002-03:  50-32 (.610), First Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference


2003-04                   Head Coach, Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

                              2003-04:  33-49 (.402), Sixth Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

                              One-Year Total:  33-49 (.402)


2004-06          Assistant Coach, Indiana Pacers (NBA), Indianapolis, Ind.

                              2004-05:  44-38 (.537), Third Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

                              2005-06:  41-41 (.500), Fourth Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference


Coaching Honors

1993 Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year

1994 Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year


Career Head Coaching Record

Level                      Years            Record          Pct

High School                    1            15-6               .714

Junior College                *2            5-13               .278

NAIA                              1            17-14             .548

NCAA Division I             11            152-165          .479

NBA                               1            33-49             .402

Totals                          16            222-247          .473

27-Year Coaching Career            583-484          .546


* record unavailable for 1981-82 season
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