O'Neill, former Cibola basketball coach and UNM assistant, dies | RopSport

O’Neill, former Cibola basketball coach and UNM assistant, dies

Brian O’Neill has died at the age of 56 after an 18-month battle with cancer, family confirmed Tuesday. (Courtesy of Joe O’Neill)

Brian O’Neill, former Cibola High boys basketball coach and University of New Mexico men’s basketball assistant, has died at age 56 in Albuquerque after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Joe O’Neill, president of local sports radio station KQTM-FM 101.7, confirmed the death of his brother early Tuesday.

O’Neill was a Cibola High basketball player and alumnus, Class of 1983, who later coached the Cibola boys team from 1995-98, averaging 20 wins a season during his tenure at the alma mater.

He then accepted a position on the UNM staff under coach Dave Bliss for two seasons, and then followed Bliss for four more seasons at Baylor before returning to Albuquerque.

O’Neill later took a position with state government as deputy executive director of the New Mexico Sports Authority — a sports division of the New Mexico State Tourism department — and succeeded Dennis Latta when Latta stepped down in late 2007.

In later years O’Neill did color analysis for prep basketball broadcasts on his brother’s radio station — at times alongside the late Mike Roberts, the iconic UNM football and basketball announcer.

Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced, and the Journal will follow up with more information when it becomes available.

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