BILLINGS — Heron O’Neal is no stranger to successful indoor football championships.
The former Billings indoor soccer mentor led his workforce to the top of the pack on 3 different instances although guiding the to start with model of the Outlaws.
Now, O’Neal would like to do the very same with the Salina (Kansas) Liberty of the Champions Indoor Soccer League.
The Liberty has positioned next in the previous two Champions Bowl video games performed, in 2021 and 2019 (the 2020 period was canceled since of the coronavirus crisis).
“We certainly experience like we have improved our roster to get back again,” O’Neal instructed The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com. “We did add Carlos Cavanaugh, who was a head mentor in this league with a few various groups. The new gamers we introduced in and the maturity of the gamers from final year and the veterans we introduced in. We are hoping that is a piece we have to have to get pushed over to the top.”
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On Sunday, the Liberty (2-) will be having on the new Billings Outlaws (-1), a first-year enlargement team in the CIF, at To start with Interstate Arena at MetraPark at 5 p.m.
Regretably for Magic Town fans seeking to observe O’Neal mentor the Liberty in his outdated stomping grounds at the Metra it won’t occur this weekend.
O’Neal and Omaha head coach Marvin Jones have been each individual suspended by the CIF for two league online games since of a scuffle amongst the two teams all through pre-video game heat-ups when Salina hosted the Beef on March 26. O’Neal will overlook this game and one far more before returning to the sidelines on April 30 in opposition to Quick Metropolis in Salina.
For O’Neal Sunday’s contest would have been a homecoming. Apart from connecting with his pals from his Outlaws’ times in Billings, it would have also been an opportunity for O’Neal to see his wife, Nisha, and his daughters.
O’Neal and his household make their home in Billings and he claimed they have due to the fact 2015. The veteran mentor, a indigenous of Chicago, stated he arrives to Billings all through bye weeks in the period to see his family members and they will travel to see him all through the year as effectively.
“I was incredibly substantially hunting forward to coming to the sport and on the lookout forward to observing my spouse and kids,” O’Neal stated. “I was quite substantially wanting ahead to getting there with the lovers of the Billings Outlaws that served us get 3 countrywide championships. I was keen to see that minute and it was snatched away by what transpired a couple months ago.
“I seem ahead to each video game, but was a lot more so seeking forward to coming back to wherever I received my initially coaching prospect and gained three countrywide championships.”
O’Neal was the Outlaws mentor from 2006-10 and led the crew to a 67-17 report. He also lived in the Magic Town all through that time.
General, the 47-calendar year-previous O’Neal has been coaching for 17 seasons, with all but a few of those as the head coach. He has been employed as a mentor for 18 many years, but the 2020 year was canceled. His groups have manufactured the playoffs each calendar year but two.
Right after serving as an assistant in 2005 for the Wyoming Calvary, he was the head mentor in Billings from 2006-10. From there, he was an assistant with the Colorado Ice for a year in 2011. He was then the head mentor for the Ice/Crush from 2012-16. In 2017, O’Neal reported he was an assistant with the Dodge City Law. He joined Salinas in 2018.
However, the fifth-year mentor of the Liberty will usually cherish his time with the Billings Outlaws indoor football staff.
While guiding the aged Outlaws squad that pre-dated the 1st-year enlargement crew now participating in in the CIF, O’Neal led Billings to league titles in 2006, 2009 and 2010. The 2006 title was in the Nationwide Indoor Football League and the final two were in the Indoor Soccer League.
O’Neal stated he’ll usually root for the Outlaws, with one exception.
“I’ll normally be an Outlaws admirer. That is where it started,” he reported. “When I engage in them when I’m on one more group, I want my workforce to earn. But, I’ll endlessly be an Outlaws lover.”
Whilst he’s on the two-game league suspension and with Salina starting a bye 7 days on April 17, O’Neal options on traveling back again to Billings to see his household. O’Neal mentioned when in Billings he’ll get in the Outlaws recreation April 16 from the Southwest Kansas Storm at the Metra.
“Keith Russ is the (Outlaws) owner and is accomplishing a wonderful position and brought in a fantastic coach (Brian Schmidt) and expertise,” O’Neal stated. “I’m undoubtedly fascinated to see how it all pans out. I’m a supporter of the Outlaws for lifestyle, except for when we enjoy them.”
O’Neal was honored as element of the 2021 course in the Indoor Football League Corridor of Fame.
He was the IFL Mentor of the Calendar year with the Colorado Ice in 2014.
“Whatever you do, you want to be one particular of the finest or described as a single of the best,” O’Neal, also the CIF mentor of the yr in 2019, claimed. “Now, I can be integrated in that.”
And when O’Neal returns to the sidelines, he’ll be intent on chasing that following victory and taking that up coming stage to what he hopes is a league title.
E-mail Gazette Athletics Editor John Letasky at [email protected] or abide by him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL