Right before the start of the season this past January, Voorhees College selected a new head coach to lead the baseball program naming Norman O’Neal to start the 2022 season. O’Neal took over the baseball program at what was then Voorhees College and is now Voorhees University.
The former Claflin University pitcher played collegiate baseball from 2006 to 2009 under James Randall, who recently retired. O’Neal joins the ranks of Coach Randall’s former players who have transitioned into college coaching.
After having a successful playing career at Claflin, O’Neal became a graduate assistant coach under Randall from 2009 to 2010. He then decided to join the Navy and serve his country.
After the military, O’Neal interned with the College Football AutoZone Bowl Game, then joined the Memphis Redbirds and Memphis Grizzlies minor league baseball front office sales and marketing departments.
Deciding to return to his roots, O’Neal made his way to Denmark, South Carolina to be with family and friends.
In 2021, he saw a job opening at Voorhees and applied as a sports management professor in hopes of continuing his focus on the business and the sports industry. O’Neal was hire by the university in August 2021.
Two weeks prior to the start of the 2022 season, he assumed leadership of a veteran team when former head coach Marcus Smith decided to leave the program. The players persuaded the school athletic department to hire O’Neal to represent the team as the next head coach.
Coach O’Neal, whose team went 10-15 in his first season as head coach, appears optimistic about the upcoming season.
“It’s not every day that you realize your childhood dreams and get paid for your childhood passion. This opportunity is truly a blessing from God, and I intend to do my best to build a formidable HBCU program to be feared in the coming years,” stated coach O’Neal.
When asked who he is most excited about for the upcoming season, he mentioned Mario Sumpter, Miles McCoy, Aquilar James, Terrel Dent, and Ar’Donnish Adside, all of whom are seniors. “My seniors are the backbone of this team and the individuals on whom I rely, as well as those who can and will play at the next level,” the coach said.
The addition of former Voorhees player Jamorri Cunningham as head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator will aid O’Neal this season.
“Jamorri was a player who demonstrated his baseball IQ throughout the season; when he asked for my assistance, I did not hesitate.”
Coach O’Neal has two amazing daughters Tyler and Denver.
The Voorhees University Tigers are a team to keep an eye on in 2023 due to their talent-filled roster and 48 scheduled games.