Billy O'Neil speaks to Randy Barker during the 2011 season.

Hoping to bring stability to Houston High School’s struggling football program, the district has hired Billy O’Neil as the new head coach.

A 1982 HHS graduate and eight-year assistant football coach, O’Neil was extended the position during a closed session of Monday’s school board meeting. He accepted the position Tuesday, and acting superintendent Scott Dill confirmed the hire Wednesday morning.

HHS athletic director Brent Kell said O’Neil was an ideal candidate for the struggling football program.

“He has put his time in as an assistant and been loyal to the community and school,” Kell said. “He is very respected by the kids and the community.”

O’Neil replaces David Williams, who resigned after two years with the Tigers. He inherits a program that has lost 20 consecutive games and has failed to win a game in four of the last six seasons.

Kell said the program needed stability –– an asset he believes O’Neil provides.

“We’ve gone through several football coaches from outside the area,” Kell said. “Houston has been –– for the most part –– a stepping stone for young coaches. We feel like he is someone who will stay here. That’s what our kids and community need right now –– a stable person who will remain here and isn’t looking to leave. We feel like we have a really good fit.”

After graduating from HHS, O’Neil played four years of football at McPherson College in Kansas. He was also a graduate assistant one year there.

O’Neil, who was employed by the Army from 1986-2009, is the Tigers’ fifth head coach in eight years.

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