Jacob O'Neill honored

WIF floor presentation
12/15: Volunteer asst. basketball coach honored with WIF auction gift
Posted on 12/15/2021

Mr. Jacob O’Neill, an assistant basketball coach for Irondequoit High School’s boys program, was honored at Wednesday night’s home opener. The 34-year-old was presented with a section of the old IHS gymnasium floor that was auctioned off by the West Irondequoit Foundation as a fundraiser. The two-week auction ended on Tuesday. The winning bid was $1,975. The community member who won the auction (and asked to remain anonymous) wanted the unique gift to be given to O’Neill as a thank you for his 10-plus years of service to coach Chris Cardon’s basketball program.

“Jacob does so many little things that you don’t see,” Cardon told the crowd during the halftime ceremony of the Eagles’ 51-47 loss to Webster Schroeder. “I know myself, the coaching staff and the players are all very appreciative.”

A Rochester School for the Deaf graduate, O'Neill participated in the University of Rochester’s Life Skills program. He joined the Irondequoit basketball program during the 2010-11 season, and the Eagles ended up winning their first Section V championship since 1945. “I think Jacob thought that was going to happen every year,” joked Cardon, who does not know sign language.

“We have our own language,” added the 36th-year, NYS Basketball Hall-of-Fame coach and retired West Irondequoit CSD physical education teacher.

O’Neill’s parents, Irondequoit residents Anne and Tim, were in attendance. Being part of the basketball program has meant a lot to Jacob, Mrs. O’Neill said. “It is something,” she said, “that ties it all together for him. It gave him a belief that ‘You can do it.’ ”

Cardon was happy the 3-by-3 feet section of hardwood floor that features the school’s Eagles logo was going to someone who deserves it for his selfless dedication to others. The floor is about 40 years old. The 2008 state champion girls volleyball squad played on it, as did the 2017 state championship boys basketball team.

“I know how special this is and a part of Irondequoit history,” O’Neill wrote on a note that was read to the crowd during the presentation. “I really enjoy supporting Irondequoit. My volunteering is for the youth, our kids, keeping them motivated, focused, supported and learning how to communicate better. Let’s GO EAGLES!”

The West Irondequoit Foundation started in 1987 and in 1990 began issuing teacher- and staff-initiated grants to the WICSD. The grants support educational experiences, programs and equipment. These are expenditures that can’t be supported by the district’s annual operating budget. Earlier this year, the WIF’s donation total to the district eclipsed the $1 million mark. Recent grants have purchased a CNC Router for the Irondequoit High School Technology Department and new equipment for the IHS Fitness Center (click the links to watch videos about each).

To learn more about the WIF or donate online, go to its website: westirondequoitfoundation.org.

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