Chet N. O’Neill, 80, of Centerville, died on February 24, 2016 at Cape Cod Hospital. Loving husband of Vilma (DiCenzo) O’Neill of Centerville, MA.
Chet was a college assistant coach for eighteen years with stops at Hofstra, Colgate and Harvard, and then had a fifteen year career as a sales rep for Champion Products Inc. In October of 1994 he formed Chet O’Neill Associates Inc., a manufacturer’s rep organization, specializing in athletic sales and imprinted/embroidered apparel for Corporate, Restaurants, School Stores and Police/Fire Department, etc.
Chet is a native of Pawtucket, RI, where he played at Pawtucket West High School (now Shea H.S.) for the late “Win” Dodge and Tilo Margarita, earning All-League honors two years and All State in 1952. After a tour of duty in the Army he enrolled at Hofstra, where he started for three years at guard and linebacker, for the legendary “Howdy’ Myers, and received the “Outstanding Lineman Award” his last two years. He co-captained the undefeated 1959 team, and also the 1960 Lacrosse squad, where he started three years on Defense.
Immediately following graduation in 1960, Chet joined the Hofstra staff as Head LINE Coach. In 1964 he accepted the position of defensive line coach from Hal Lahar at Colgate University. In 1968 he switched to the offensive line and became Chief Assistant / Offensive Coordinator his last two years on the Red Raider staff under Head Coach Neil Wheelwright. In 1972, he joined Joe Restic’s Harvard staff and was Defensive Line Coach and Defensive Coordinator when the Crimson won the 1975 Ivy League Championship. While still coaching football at Harvard, Chet established the Big New England Football Clinic in 1975 and was the Clinic Director for over 35 years.
In 1988, Chet was inducted as a Special Recipient into the Rhode Island High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and in 1993 into the Providence Gridiron Club Hall of Fame, and served on their Board of Directors. Chet is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Gridiron Coach Magazine, and the Executive Board of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He received the Chapter’s Frank Morey Contribution to Amateur Football Award in 2004 at the Chapter’s annual Golden Dozen Awards Dinner.
In addition to his wife, Chet is survived by his children, Sherry of Connecticut, and Kenny along with his wife Kim of Centerville, one grandchild, Michele Belisle and her husband Dan of CT., and two great grandchildren, Josie and Brody. He also leaves his brother Kenny O’Neill and sister Barbara Heaney, both of RI.
A funeral service will be held at Noon on Monday, February 29th at the John Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Road, Marstons Mills, MA. Burial will be private.