New plan focuses on helping the schools' baseball team upgrade its facilities and equipment.
Final non-conference games before the start of MEAC play this weekend
Hawks will play Villanova, Temple and Saint Joseph's over the weekend
Pair of doubleheaders set for Friday at Sunday at noon
Hawks will play Alabama A&M, Indiana State and Western Illinois in Huntsville
John O'Neil was named the interim head coach of UMES on January 12, 2015. He previously served as the team's assistant coach for the past three years.
His first season in Princess Anne in 2012, the Hawks improved their winning percentage overall and in the MEAC, including a third-place finish in the conference tournament. Seven of UMES's regular starters in the lineup, including three sophomores and two newcomers, hit over .265, improved from just three the year before, helping the Hawks to their second-best win total since 1996.
In 2013, O'Neil served as the first assistant coach to new UMES head coach Pedro Swann. Six UMES players, including rookie Mike Escanilla, hit above .260 for the second straight season that at least six players have hit above that mark. In addition, two position players, Brandon Schott and Joshua James, earned All-MEAC honors in their second season with UMES.
The team rebounded in 2014, improving by five victories and dropped ten losses off their record. Both the team's average and the team's ERA improved, led by outfielder Byron Campbell and Stephen Bull on the offensive side, and pitcher Jesse Stinnett on the mound leading the charge.
O'Neil comes to UMES with multiple years of collegiate coaching experience. Most recently, he spent the 2011 season in Philadelphia as the assistant coach with the University of the Sciences. In that one year, O'Neil helped the team to its best conference finish, first postseason appearance, and their first conference tournament victory for the school. In the two seasons prior to that, he coached at his alma mater, Colby-Sawyer College, assisting the Chargers to a post-season appearance in 2009. He has coached five all-conference student-athletes and two all-region performers within that time frame. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the UMES Exercise Science department, teaching three classes for the institution.
During the summer of 2011, O'Neil served as the head coach of the Middlesex Rays, a member of the Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League in New Jersey. O'Neil was a four-year starter for the Chargers from 2005 through 2008 as a catcher and designated hitter, hitting .273 in his college career. He also received state awards as an infielder at Burrillville High School in Rhode Island. O'Neil received his undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences from Colby-Sawyer, earning his Master's Degree two years later in Sport and Recreation Management from New England College.
He currently resides in Salisbury, Maryland.