novaMatt O’Neill ‘14 had a courtside seat for Villanova’s buzzer beater on Monday to win the men’s basketball national championship over North Carolina: He is a student manager for the Wildcats.

“Congrats to one of the hardest working and best teammates I ever coached,” tweeted former Saint Viator basketball coach, Mike Howland.

Matt is in his second year as a manager, working under the leadership of Head Coach Jay Wright. According to his LinkedIn profile, his responsibilities include supporting games and practices, maintaining travel plans and itineraries, managing uniforms and equipment, organizing statistics, recording and organizing game and practice film, as well as assisting the coaching staff in creating scouting reports for future opponents.

He is one of nearly one dozen student managers, who work directly with Coach Jay Wright and his staff to ensure team efficiency.

“I played basketball and baseball in high school, but unfortunately my skill set didn’t translate to the Division I Basketball level,” Matt said last week in a Q & A with a Villanova news website. “I still wanted to be involved with basketball in some capacity, so I figured being a manager would be a good way to stay involved. I still am exposed to the sport, but I am also learning valuable skills that I can apply to a future career in sports.”

At Saint Viator, Matt played baseball and basketball. Ironically, in joining the Wildcats in a support role, it brought him face to face with former Stevenson High School standout, Jalen Brunson — starting freshman point guard — who nearly singlehandedly eliminated the Lions from sectional play the last two years, including Matt’s senior year.

But they’re both part of the Wildcat family now, led by Coach Wright, whom Matt says instills that feeling throughout the program.

“The family atmosphere that Villanova Basketball creates is something I truly cherish and motivates me to work as hard as I can every day at practice and behind the scenes,” Matt said last week. “It is satisfying to see our handwork translate to success on and off the court.”