Louise O’Neal is one of a group of coaching pioneers who paved the way for women’s college basketball as we know it today. From 1962-1976, O’Neal served as head women’s basketball coach at Southern Connecticut State College. She revolutionized the women’s program at Southern, elevating it from a club sport in the 1960’s to a varsity sport in the ‘70’s. She led her teams to an impressive 144-37 record and eight straight appearances in the National Women’s Collegiate Championships. Southern was the only school in the country to qualify for each of the first eight championships.
O’Neal’s Southern Connecticut teams were ranked 3rd in the nation in 1971, ‘73, and ‘74. She won the Northeast Regional Championships in 1972, ‘73, and ‘75 and placed in the runner-up position in 1971, ‘74, and ‘76.
Individual players coached by O’Neal were selected for the U.S. Olympic Team which won the silver medal in Montreal and three U.S. National Teams competing at the World Games, the Pan-American Games and the World University Games.
O’Neal served three years (1976-1979) at Yale University as Assistant Director of Athlet-ics and Basketball Coach. She took Yale’s team from a previous best-finish of fifth place to an Ivy Championship in three years. Her Yale teams qualified for post-season competition each of the three years. O’Neal’s last coaching role was as coach of the U.S. National Team which won the gold medal at the 1979 International Tournament at Squaw Valley.
In 1979, O’Neal left coaching and served as Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Dartmouth College until she became Director of Athletics at Wellesley College in 1990.
In 1994, the National Association for Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators selected O’Neal as National Administrator of the Year. O’Neal served as Chair of the Wade Trophy Com-mittee for three years and on the Jostens Award Committee for the Outstanding Division III Basketball Players. O’Neal served in several NCAA leadership positions – the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, the U.S. Olympic Games Selection Committee, and the Sears Cup Selection Committee. In 2004, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) named O’Neal as the winner of its Jostens-Berenson Service Award, recognizing her lifelong commitment of service to the game of women’s basketball.