Email Coach O'Neal
Troy O’Neal begins his second season on the University of Delaware baseball coaching staff in 2016 after serving his first year as the volunteer assistant working with the pitchers and catchers.
O'Neal was promoted to the full-time position of pitching coach for the Blue Hens in August, 2016.
“The Blue Hens will certainly capitalize on Troy’s extensive experience working with college and professional pitching staffs," said UD head coach Jim Sherman. "Troy is a consummate student of the game and understands the keys to developing young talent into players who not only excel at the college level, but progress into the professional level. The Blue Hens baseball program has a long history of their players developing into outstanding pitchers and succeeding at the professional level, such as 2013 ninth round draft pick Chad Kuhl, who
made his major league debut in June of 2016 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We know with Troy’s focus and dedication, we’ll see some more Blue Hens succeeding like Chad in the near future."
A native of Wilmington, Del., O’Neal was a standout catcher for the Blue Hens in 1992-95 under Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hannah and led UD to a four-year mark of 156-62 (.715), including a 63-25 (.716) in North Atlantic Conference action. He led teams to NAC titles in 1992, 1994, and 1995 and to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1992 and 1995. He was a co-captain - along with current UD associate head coach Dan Hammer - for the 1995 team that went 45-14 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
O’Neal, who earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Delaware in 1996, was a four-year standout who appeared in 151 games with 116 starts and batted .321 with 93 runs batted in, 30 doubles, and nine home runs. He also set a school record by being hit by pitch 33 times and had 10 game-winning hits over his final two seasons.
An outstanding defensive player, he had a .973 career fielding pct., with a pop time of 1.75 throwing out nearly 70 percent of runners during his career, while helping the Blue Hen pitching staff lead the NCAA in team earned run average in 1994 and rank No. 2 in 1995. He hit .348 overall as a junior and .304 as a senior when he earned All-North Atlantic Conference honors and was award the team’s Perry Burkett Triple Effort Award for Dedication and Inspiration.
He signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers following the 1995 season and played four seasons in the minor leagues with the Brewersand the Arizona Diamondbacks organizations, moving up as high as the AAA level and winning a minor league championship ring in the Pioneer League.
It’s been said that former catchers make the best coaches. Dave Duncan an 11-year big league catcher, former St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach, and currently a pitching consultant for the Arizona Diamondbacks, said "If you've caught for a long time, you've dealt with virtually every style of pitching there is. You haven't been limited to only what you did as a pitcher. You've had the exposure. That benefits you. You've dealt with a lot of different personalities because you've had to deal with pitchers' personalities. You understand the emotions of what a pitcher goes through. It helps you have a better communication with pitchers.”
A familiar name in the outstanding tradition of University of Delaware baseball and a former Blue Hens standout catcher, O'Neal was in charge of the Hens' pitching staff as the starting catcher for UD in his final two seasons. As team captain and the leader of the pitching staff, he helped lead the staff to the No. 1 earned run average in NCAA Division I at 2.52 in 1994 and followed that up the next year, lowering the team ERA to 2.44 and finishing No. 2 in
Since leaving Delaware, those numbers have not since been approached. During his time handling the Blue Hen pitching staff, O'Neal helped produce some of the best single season pitching performances in Delaware history.
The Blue Hens had five individual performances ranked in the top 20 earned run averages in the NCAA over a two-year period, including those put in by Jamie Wilson (75 innings pitched, 1.55 ERA, #5 in nation); Jeremy Benson (90 IP, 1.80 ERA, #14 in nation); Chris Dillon (56 IP, 2.06 ERA, #19 in nation); Curt Schnur (104 IP, 1.21 ERA, #2 in nation); and Jamie Wilson (85 IP, 1.70 ERA, #10 in nation).
Working with and developing pitchers didn’t stop at the college level as Troy spent several years in professional baseball as a catcher in the Brewers and Diamondbacks organizations, finishing his career at the AAA Level.
Along the way he developed a reputation for getting the most out of his pitching staffs and helping several pitchers reach their dream of becoming big league pitchers. Jeff Suppan a 12- year veteran in the Big Leagues, a World Series champion, and an NLCS MVP was one of many pitchers O'Neal helped along the way, as he developed as many as 25 big
league pitchers on his trek through professional baseball.
“As a professional catcher, our time is spent catching, coaching, mentoring, strategizing and developing the pitchers we come in contact with throughout our career,” said O'Neal. “You will find catchers make the best coaches because they are uniquely qualified to coach all facets of the game, especially handling the most important aspect of the game, the pitching
During the Blue Hens' 2016 season, O'Neal helped manage the pitch-calling duties while also managing the catchers. His experience helped solidify the young Blue Hen pitching staff throughout the season. With O’Neal’s mentoring, the 2016 season’s pitching results were highlighted by Freshman All-American Brandon Walter, who led the Hens with 89 innings pitched and a team best 3.63 ERA. Walter was also named to the CAA All-Rookie team, was a third team All-CAA selection, and was selected as the teams Pitcher of the Year.
The Hens' pitching successes were also led by team captain and sophomore Ron Marrinaccio, who logged 81 innings pitched and tied Walter for the team lead in wins with seven. Another young Blue Hen, sophomore Nick Spadafino, emerged during the season as a solid contributor, earning three starts and recording the team's first complete game shutout of the year.
O’Neal is excited to capitalize on the Blue Hens pitching progress in 2016, which showed strong improvement throughout the year.
O’Neal has served as director and owner of the Bullybats Baseball Academy since 2008 and has managed a staff of 12-24 high school coaches and instructors who have provided coaching instruction to over 5,000 aspiring local athletes, helping place several with college programs. He has personally worked with more than 1,000 players one on one, instructing in
hitting, pitching, and catching.
O’Neal graduated from Delaware with a degree in physical education and is currently pursuing a master's degree in psychology at UD. His career goals are to become a head coach at the NCAA Division I level and win a national championship.
He resides in Hockessin, Del. with his wife Monica, their son Logan, and daughters Chase and Bailey.
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