Dawn D. O’Neil, Connecticut – 2005
Dawn is currently a physical education teacher and coach at E. O. Smith High School where she coaches field hockey. She has previously served at Somers High School where she was varsity field hockey coach (1980-1995), varsity softball coach (1983-1995), and varsity gymnastics coach (1980-1995). Dawn also coached for the Wilmington, CT, Recreation Department: softball (1997–present), basketball (1997-1999, 2001), and soccer (1998). From 2002–2004 she coached field hockey at Hall Memorial High School.
Her league/board affiliations include the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (field hockey tournament director, 1996-present, and field hockey coaches committee, 1988-1996) and the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (field hockey chairperson, 1990-1993). She holds a National Federation Volleyball Officials certification.
She has coached high school girls’ sports for 15 years, officiated for 11 years, and coached girls’ recreation teams for 12 years. Her teams have competed successfully in championship/post season tournaments. Her girls’ field hockey and softball teams have earned over 100 wins in each sport. Varsity softball teams earned 2 NCCC League Championships and were State Class S semifinalists, qualifying for the state tournament all of her13 years. Her varsity field hockey teams were State Class S semifinalists and qualified for state tournaments for 14 of her 15 years. Her gymnastics teams were NCCC League Champions and qualified for Class S state individual tournament 5 out of 5 years. She has also officiated at state tournament matches 8 of 9 years of her officiating career.
Dawn has been recognized for her contributions to girls’ and women’s sport by the Connecticut High School coaches Association as “Outstanding Field Hockey Coach of the Year” in 1994 and the Class S Connecticut High School field Hockey Coach of the Year in 1988. She has been selected to coach the senior All-Star Field Hockey Team-East in 1995 and the Senior All-Start Team, Class S & M – East, 1983-1985.
Dawn comments that: “the best memories from my high school experiences were what wonderful and dynamic high school coaches and teachers I had. The opportunity to work with such mentors had a positive impact on my life. It was in high school that I decided to become a teacher and coach. I wanted to one day have the opportunity to make that kind of impression on young adults.” During the 12 years when she stayed home with her 3 daughters, she became a certified National Federation girls’ volleyball official, a field hockey tournament director for the state, and a volunteer coach for her daughters’ teams. She started and coached a field hockey club in town to address the lack of sports teams for middle school students and received a grant from the United States Field Hockey Association to equip her middle school club. Following this, the middle school principal decided to adopt the club and it became a middle school team.