“It truly was an incredible run for our team and the perfect way to close out my senior year at Villanova. Some are even saying our program has had the best four-year run in college basketball history, which is pretty incredible.”
O’Neill worked his way up through the manager program over his four years. This year, he was head manager, which carried a lot of responsibility and drew him to work directly for Head Coach Jay Wright.
“The role is very demanding,” O’Neill says. “I spend five to six hours each day in our basketball offices, not to mention the demanding travel schedule the rest of the season.”
Literally, he has gone from helping with team laundry to this year serving as day-to-day equipment manager for the team, while also directing and scheduling the other 14 managers. Essentially, O’Neill serves as liaison between Coach Wright and his staff and the rest of the student managers.
His dedication did not go unnoticed. O’Neill was the recipient of the Christopher M. Dincuff Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a senior manager who offers exceptional service to the program.
“The scholarship was very meaningful to me, as it is in honor of Chris Dincuff, a former Villanova student manager who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks,” O’Neill adds.
While at Saint Viator, O’Neill played baseball and basketball, but he concedes he realized he didn’t have what it took to play in college. He became a basketball manager his freshman year, he says, to stay involved with the sport he loves.
Ironically, in joining the Wildcats in a support role, it brought him face to face with former Stevenson High School star guard, Jalen Brunson, who nearly singlehandedly eliminated the Lions from sectional play the last two years Matt played.
“We still joke about those games all the time,” O’Neill says, “but he has the upper hand — since I never beat him.”
O’Neill graduates this year from Villanova with his major in computer science, but he already has a job lined up. This summer, he will begin working as a financial services technology consultant at Ernst & Young in New York.
It may not be as exciting as this year’s road to the final four, but O’Neill knows it’s a great job and will give him a valuable skill set.
“I thought this was a good starting point for a career in technology,” he says. “I hope to gain diversified experience in many different tech areas.”
As for returning to the sports world, he won’t rule it out: “Who knows where it will lead!”