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The Grill -- FB ISD Athletic Director Philip O'Neal
May 14, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - West Houston
Fort Bend ISD Athletic Director Philip O'Neal
Make Room For the New Guy
In mid March, there will be a new face to Fort Bend ISD Athletics. After a long and successful tenure at the top spot in Fort Bend sports, athletic director Keith Kilgore decided to retire, stepping away from a sports community he practically built.
Now, it’s in the hands of Philip O’Neal. After a decade of running the show at Weatherford ISD, O’Neal takes over the southwest Houston-area district that is still seeing growth in its communities.
And you better believe that he is up for the challenge.
“I know that the sports programs here had a great season. Keith Kilgore has done a great job working with the campus coordinators and athletes so I am looking forward to building on that,” O’Neal said.
Making the move from the Dallas/Fort Worth area is going to be somewhat of a change from what veteran O’Neal is used to. The main difference, and most obvious, is that he is coming from a single high school district to one that has 11 schools playing in two state classifications.
But once again, that is not seen as a hindrance to O’Neal or the staff he plans to surround himself with. During his time at Weatherford, the sports programs saw success. In softball, a state title was earned, there were plenty of deep playoff runs from the baseball program and a number of district golf titles.
O’Neal quickly turned the attention away from himself when speaking about the program’s success during his time there. In fact, it was more about the staff and coaches.
“It’s important to hire good people and let them go to work. We want to have quality coaches at our schools,” O’Neal said. “Good people bring about success and it is clear that Kilgore has done that.”
And while things are on the up and up around the Missouri City/Sugar Land area, there are always areas where improvement is needed. One of the questions that arise when speaking about athletics is exposure of the players’ talents through a variety of media.
For years, there have been print and radio coverage that have taken place at Hall and Mercer Stadiums, but limited television.
Several of the fans want to know where does O’Neal stand on this issue.
“For me, once I get into my office, I will need to assess where I think improvements need to be made. It’s obvious that from the outside there are a lot of things going on that are right,” O’Neal said. “But assessment needs to happen before there can be change, positive change.
“As for the television coverage, I am not sure why that is. Once again, this is something I need to assess. Once I find out that it is not going on, I’ll ask, ‘Why not, and is there something that is preventing it from happening?’”
O’Neal said that maybe it is due to some administrative policy, but that is something that he will look into once he is settled. For now, he wants it to be known that his primary focus is on the players.
“I want to work with coaches to help our players. Those two are my primary focus,” O’Neal said. “But the bottom line is it is all about the kids. And whatever I can do to help our coach’s help and promote our kids that is what I will do.”