Co-offensive coordinator TJ O’Neill to be first head coach at Olathe West

O’Neill will become head football coach at Olathe West High School next fall


By Jessica Mitchell

Head coach Joel Applebee and co-offensive coordinator Thomas O’Neill celebrate their second state football championship.

Deanna Newman, JAG reporter/photographer

Football co-offensive coordinator TJ O’Neill has recently accepted the head coaching position at Olathe West High School for the 2017-2018 school year.

O’Neill will be switching over to the brand new Olathe West for the opportunity to become head coach and is excited to be a part of a new football program.

“The opportunity to meet new people and try out something different [is exciting],” O’Neill said. “It’s a pretty unique situation with [Olathe West], being a new school and completely new program so that’ll be something that I haven’t experienced.”

O’Neill has been teaching and coaching football at Mill Valley for seven years. He also has coached Mill Valley bowling for four years.

The change in coaching, after he transfers to Olathe West, will be adaptable for the team according to O’Neill.

“Any time there’s a new coach [for a sport], people have to get used to their personality and coaching style, but our kids here do a great job of respecting the coaches and working hard no matter what,” O’Neill said.

“[Mill Valley] has been the biggest part of my life for the last seven years. Change is always difficult, but the people is what you miss the most.””

— football co offensive coordinator TJ O'Neill

Aside from being the current co-offensive coordinator for the football team, O’Neill has also been the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. In addition to football, O’Neill teaches Physical Education.

Head football coach Joel Applebee and the coaching staff will be looking for a new co-offensive coordinator that can motivate the football team.

“[O’Neill] connected well and developed great relationships with the kids,” Applebee said. “in order to replace him we’re looking for a coach that does something very similar to that.”

Coaching at Olathe West will differ from coaching at Mill Valley, and will be a new challenge according to O’Neill.

“Getting to know the kids, the parents, the coaches [is] going to be a new experience,” O’Neill said. “Obviously it’ll be a new role for me as the head coach and that comes with different responsibilities.”

O’Neill will miss the people and atmosphere of Mill Valley.

“[I will miss] the players, the students, the staff, all of it,” O’Neill said. “[Mill Valley] has been the biggest part of my life for the last seven years. Change is always difficult, but the people is what you miss the most.”

Applebee hopes for O’Neill’s success as the Olathe West head coach.

“We just wish Coach O’Neill luck,” Applebee said. “We know he’s going to do a great job.”

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