New Paltz High School (NPHS) football kicker Aidan O’Neill signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and football career at Ohio University, a Division I college in Athens, Ohio. O’Neill, a senior at NPHS, put pen to paper on Wednesday, February 3 and made it official as his family and one of his coaches proudly looked on.
O’Neill is the son of Amy Daidone and Liam O’Neill of New Paltz and younger sibling of Fiona O’Neill.
NPHS varsity football coach Thomas Tegeler said he is extremely proud of O’Neill. “I think he’s worked very hard on his craft. I’ve seen him practice when everyone else has gone home. He hired a personal coach. I believe he is definitely dedicated to his art.” In regards to the future, Tegeler says, “What a lot of people don’t know is that a Division I program will require a lot of body conditioning time and if O’Neill weight trains properly, I believe his future could be endless.” O’Neill has played varsity football for New Paltz for the last three years.
O’Neill reciprocated the kind words by saying, “I’m thankful for Coach Tegeler because he’s the one who introduced me to a sport I never considered playing.” O’Neill was playing soccer for NPHS when he was scouted by Tegeler to come tryout for the football team. O’Neill said he’s glad he made the switch.
On a scale of one to ten, O’Neill says he ranks playing football as a nine and playing soccer as a six or a seven. “Tegeler taught me that through hard work, anything is possible, that football is a team sport and to always remember to keep your eye on the prize.”
O’Neill added what he will miss the most about Tegeler are his inspirational speeches he so eloquently gives before every game. “I’ll miss those speeches,” O’Neill said, “He gives the best speeches ever.”
Although O’Neill will miss coach Tegeler, he is looking forward to his collegiate experience with Ohio University’s head football coach Frank Solich. Having met Solich, O’Neill said he believes Solich is an old-school coach, who preaches a respectful way of playing football. He noticed that Solich has a great relationship with his players and his games are about both winning and having fun.
Thinking about the whole college experience, O’Neill says, “It’s an awesome opportunity to further my education and continue to play a sport that I’ve grown to love. I can’t wait.”
O’Neill plans to study business at Ohio University.
In addition to his sports pursuits, O’Neill has also volunteered at Mohonk Preserve and the New Paltz Chamber of Commerce.