HOF Coach Profile: Hardin Central's Gary O'Neal 2/17

By PrepsKC staff
Posted: February 19, 2019 - 9:26 AM



O’Neal was born in 1952 in Marshall, Missouri where he grew up and graduated high school in 1970. He then attended the University of Missouri where he graduated in 1974.

In the fall of 1974 O’Neal began his coaching and teaching career at Hardin Central High School. He served as an assistant coach for two seasons before taking over head coaching duties in 1976.

The next 28 seasons saw Hardin Central turn into a small school power. As one of the smallest schools in Class 1 the Bulldogs were one of the winningest programs.

Hardin Central finished with 10 undefeated regular season, 16 conference championships, 12 district titles, six trips to the Class 1 semifinals, four appearances in the Show-Me Bowl and state titles in 1980 and 1987.

O’Neal finished his coaching career in 2003 with a record of 239-52-1 in 28 seasons which ranks No. 1 all time in Class 1. During that span he was named the Missouri coach of the year three times. O’Neal is a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

He currently resides in Farley, Missouri.