There was a time at North Callaway High School when current Athletic Director Michael Emmons was the head varsity football coach and individuals including current football and former baseball coach Kevin O'Neal were simply trying to learn the trade as his assistant.
Fast forward to the present day and O'Neal stepping away from the Thunderbird's baseball team isn't the only change that'll be taking place on the schools athletic landscape. Most notably Emmons has decided to retire at the end of the school year. That's created a ripple effect that's shook the entire athletic department from top to bottom and the one who emerged from this loss better off for how he handled it is the one who learned most of what he knows from the individual he'll be replacing, O'Neal.
"I applied in January for the position after Coach Emmons announced his retirement," said O'Neal. "I will oversee all activities at NCHS and the junior high as well as offer support and help develop our coaching staff."
In 2017-18 the North Callaway varsity baseball team finished with a record of 14-12 overall. This included drawing a bye for the opening round of Class 3, District 7, prior to being eliminated by Eastern Missouri Conference rival Montgomery County, 14-7 overall, 12-4 on May 15. One reason O'Neal stepped away from that position was to take on the same role with his sons team, but one thing this new position won't allow for is for him to continue as the T-Birds football coach.
"I will not be coaching football next year in order to make sure I can give my full attention to my responsibilities as an Activities Director. I will be involved in the hiring of our new football coach," O'Neal said. "I will still be coaching my sons baseball team this summer."
This past season the North Callaway varsity football team went 7-4 overall, 4-3 EMO, and was ranked 201st in the state according to maxpreps.com. The one caveat to all of that was that it lost to rival South Callaway twice, once during the regular season 33-32 in overtime at the Bulldogs on Oct. 19 and then again two weeks later in the second round of the playoffs 14-6, which was also in Mokane.
"I officially begin as A.D. on July 1," said O'Neal. "The head football position will be posted within the week and we will begin the process of looking at applications and interviews soon."