O'Neill says good-bye to Bears
THOMASTON – This wasn’t the way it was all supposed to work out. But that’s okay for Pat O’Neill, well mostly okay.
If word hasn’t reached you yet, O’Neill resigned recently as the Thomaston High head baseball coach after one season. Not exactly what he had in mind a year or so ago when he took the job. A 2012 Golden Bear graduate, this was where he wanted to be, 24-years-old with a big smile and rarin’ to go at his alma mater.
So, what happened? College came calling and it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. O’Neill is the new pitching coach for Wesleyan University.
“When I was hired at Thomaston I was not planning to leave,” said O’Neill. “My dream job was to be a full-time baseball coach. I didn’t expect this to be so sudden. I feel bad, but this opportunity was too good to pass up.”
Thomaston co-Athletic Director A.J. Bunel was supportive of O’Neill’s move.
“We are incredibly proud and appreciative of Pat and the job he has done for baseball program the past two seasons (one as an assistant),” said Bunel. “While he will be tough to replace, we’re extremely excited for the opportunity he has in front of him and we wish him nothing but the best at Wesleyan. “
Bunel said Thomaston is in the process of searching for a replacement for O’Neill.
O’Neill, who spent the summer as the bullpen coach and assistant pitching coach for the Danbury Westerners of the New England Baseball League, found his way to Wesleyan through connections he made with Danbury and his college alma mater, Eastern Connecticut State University.
Chris Wojcik left the pitching job at Wesleyan to take the same position at Eastern Connecticut.
“When Chris took the Eastern job, I knew the Wesleyan job would be open and applied right away,” said O’Neill. “I sat down with (Wesleyan coach) Mark Woodward and the interview went well. We had similar pitching philosophies concerning things like the use of data, new technology and sequencing thing on when to call pitches.”
O’Neill is pumped up and ready to go, but there is that element of regret about leaving Thomaston after one season.
“I am a Thomaston guy and Mac (former coach Bob McMahon) trusted me with the job. In that respect I feel bad,” said O’Neill. “I was excited to coach (Thomaston). In that regard I’m bummed. But it would be wrong not to take this job. Everybody I’ve talked to has supported me.”