After being named USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Women's Assistant Coach of the year in 2010, Gavin O'Neal was promoted to Associate Head Coach of the track & field program at Columbia University. In his fifth season with the Lions, O'Neal has earned the honors, as he has transformed Columbia into one of the elite track & field programs in the Ivy League.
Since O'Neal arrived in Morningside Heights, Columbia women's track & field has reached new levels of excellence, as he has recruited and coached some of the best sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers in the nation.
The 2010 season was full of examples of that excellence. That season, Columbia was the only Ivy League school to send athletes to the NCAA National Indoor Championships, and the Lions sent more athletes than any other Ivy League school to the NCAA Northeast Outdoor Regional in the spring. The women’s team earned 10 total Ivy League championship titles, set four new Ivy League records and over 15 new school records. The athletes competing for Columbia now are some of the best the program has ever seen.
In 2010, Sharay Hale '12CC earned All-American honors in the 400m, along with one of the fastest 400m times in the nation (52.61), and multiple Ivy League Championship titles. A semifinalist at the USA Track & Field Championships, Hale was also named the Ivy League’s Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet at the 2010 Indoor Ivy League Championships.
Her classmate, Kyra Caldwell ‘12CC also earned Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet honors at the 2010 Outdoor Championships, as she won three titles and ran some of the fastest hurdle times in the nation. Caldwell and Hale lead a contingent of athletes who are poised for greatness, including QueenDenise Okeke ‘13CC, Uju Ofoche ‘13CC and Monique Roberts ‘12BC, all regional or national qualifiers, school record holders, and at the top of their events in the Ivy League.
On the men’s side, O’Neal worked with Stefan Vutescu ’10CC, the 2009 Ivy League champion in both the 60m and 100m dash, and an NCAA Regional qualifier. Under O’Neal’s guidance, Vutescu became the first Columbia sprinter ever to win the indoor 60m dash, and the first Columbia male since 1951 to win the outdoor 100m.
In his time with the Lions, O’Neal has coached 20 school record holders, three conference record holders, 18 Ivy League champions, 13 Ivy League runner-ups, over 20 All-Ivy League selections, over a dozen NCAA regional qualifiers, one regional runner-up, two NCAA National championships qualifier, and nearly 50 athletes on the all-time top five lists in Columbia track & field history.
O’Neal joined the staff at Columbia after working as an assistant track & field coach at Williams College. At Williams, he coached the triple, long and high jumpers, and also served as assistant strength and conditioning coach. While coaching the Ephs, O’Neal helped to produce three NCAA indoor qualifiers and seven outdoor NCAA qualifiers, resulting in seven All-Americans. Six school records were broken during his tenure at Williams, and he helped the women’s track & field program to two second place finishes at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and the men’s team to a fourth place finish outdoors.
Prior to his time at Williams, O’Neal spent three seasons at Oberlin College. After spending the 1999-2000 season as the assistant men’s cross country and track & field coach, he was promoted to head men’s cross country and assistant track & field coach, a position he held for two years. O’Neal developed four all-conference and two all-regional athletes in cross country, 13 all-conference track and field honorees, six conference champions and three NCAA qualifiers.
O’Neal graduated from Ohio University in 1999 with a B.S. in sports sciences. He was a two-time cross country team captain at Ohio, and earned first-team All-Mid American Conference honors in 1996, when the Bobcats won the MAC team title. He received his master’s in sports administration from Kent State in 2004.
|Position:||Associate Head Coach/Sprints, Jumps & Hurdles|