Sean Neal has been promoted to associate head coach of the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball program, Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt has announced.
Neal will enter his sixth season with the program this year. In his first five seasons with the Bonnies, St. Bonaventure has finished at or near the top of the Atlantic 10 in four of those years, including the 2020-21 season when the Bonnies won the Atlantic 10 regular season and Atlantic 10 Tournament championships – the first time the program has won both titles in the same season.
In addition to the NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021, the Bonnies advanced to the NIT semifinals in 2022 with road wins over Colorado, Oklahoma and Virginia. During the 2021-22 regular season, St. Bonaventure claimed its first national Top 25 ranking in 40 years and won the prestigious Charleston Classic with victories over Boise State, Clemson, and Marquette. St. Bonaventure finished the season with 23 wins, including five coming over Power Six conference opponents.
“Sean is a great coach and he has great relationships with our players. He deserves this promotion,” Schmidt said. “He has done an excellent job in his time here, recruiting, scouting, and developing our players. He’s been a big part of our success and I know he will continue to help us be successful going forward.”
Neal has been an important recruiter for the program as well, leading the recruitment of Osun Osunniyi, the school’s all-time leading shot blocker and first-ever two-time Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Osunniyi was a four-time All-Conference selection and ranked in the Top 10 nationally in shot blocking as a freshman. He was crowned Most Outstanding Player of the 2021 Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Prior to St. Bonaventure, Neal was an assistant coach at La Salle University on the staff of Dr. John Giannini. During his time with the Explorers, La Salle made two postseason appearances, including a Sweet 16 run in 2013. The Explorers finished the season ranked No. 24 in the country with wins over Villanova, Butler, VCU, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Boise State. In the 2011-2012 season, La Salle finished with 21 wins and was selected to the NIT, the first postseason appearance for the program in 20 years.
Neal served in various roles at La Salle from 2008-2018. He began as a graduate assistant and worked his way up to recruiting coordinator in his last season. The Explorers signed five former Top 100 players, including BJ Johnson who played for the Orlando Magic. Neal has coached 13 All-Conference players in his tenure at St. Bonaventure and La Salle.
As a player, Neal played for La Salle University from 2003-2007. Neal played point guard for the 2005-2006 Explorers team that set a school record for most conference wins in school history.
The Springfield, Mass. native enjoyed a standout high school career at Springfield Cathedral High School. Neal averaged 25 points per game as a senior and won Western Massachusetts Player of the Year and Massachusetts Coaches’ Association Player of the Year.
Neal received his Bachelor’s Degree in political science in 2007 and his MBA in 2011 from La Salle. He and his wife Kara, Doctor of Physical Therapy, reside in Olean with their three daughters: Giuliana, Mackenzie, and Averie.