For over 35-years Mary Beth O’Neil has been a dedicated coach for Special Olympics Massachusetts. She has volunteered countless hours collaborating with athletes in a role she considers incredibly important with rewards that extend far beyond the finish line. Mary Beth strongly believes in finding opportunities for athletes on and off the field. She has been described by her peers as a coach’s coach who embodies the mission of the Special Olympics movement through her dedication and genuine affection. Mary Beth’s passion for helping those with intellectual disabilities has led her to serve on numerous committees, develop a guide on teaching Special Olympics athletes and recently led to her being nominated for the 2011 Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year.
Mary Beth recognizes coaching as being more than teaching sports skills to athletes. She is an integral part of her athlete’s lives and works every day to take steps that contribute to improving their quality of life. She has arranged social events, gone to Red Sox games and event traveled to Disneyworld with her athletes. In 1999 she organized an opportunity for athletes to travel abroad as part of an exchange program through a Global Partnership with Special Olympics Ireland. Since she began coaching, there has not been a National or International Games where her athletes have not been nominated or selected. She has traveled half way around the world, many times at her own expense, to support and cheer on her athletes. She tries to be an example to her athletes through exemplary behavior like being a stickler for the rules; even when it does not work to the advantage of her athletes.
Mary Beth’s hard work and perseverance over the years have garnered a huge amount of respect among Special Olympics Massachusetts athletes, parents, volunteers and staff who look to her for advice and support. She is a valuable resource and recognized expert in the field of intellectual disabilities due to her experience and knowledge. Her guide on ‘Teaching the SO Athlete’ is a valuable tool for many in the organization and is comprised of effective methods, teaching strategies, behavior management techniques and behavior expectations. Mary Beth’s guidelines have paved a road to a better way of life, increased courage and opportunities to grow for athletes.
This holiday season let Mary Beth’s passion and spirit inspire you. Click below to provide a better way of life for those with intellectual disabilities.