Desmond O’Neill

Desmond O’Neill 1998, Hall of Fame Community Leader

From Shanghai, China, to the SBART Hall of Fame? Desmond O’Neill didn’t run all the way, but if it hadn’t been for the water, he probably could have. It took him almost 20 years to land in Santa Barbara with stops in Ireland, Santa Cruz High School, UC Berkeley, and the Boalt School of Law.

But it didn’t take Des long to become involved and while he never conceived of it, that 25 year involvement would be recognized by the Athletic Round Table as Community Leader, a commitment for which he is being honored tonight.

Activity, volunteerism and contribution fill his resume, but his greatest character trait is unselfishness. Thirty four years of membership in the SB Athletic Association, the last 30 as President. Des has been a member and Past Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Director of the Las Positas Foundation Board, PARC Foundation and presently Trustee of the SB Community College.

During these periods of service, he has officiated and announced track at Westmont, UCSB and SBCC. Des has served on the race crew of the SBAA and has served as Editor and contributor for Runner’s World. He is a certified AAU and USAT &F official in both Northern and Southern California.

What piqued his interest in running when he was a 12 year old in Ireland was Roger Bannister’s four minute mile. He was off and running miles, marathons and 50 milers. He doesn’t run competitively these days, he just spends time helping those who do.

In his spare time, he practices law, serves as an instructor at the SB College of Law and is presently Associate Dean and instructor at the SC Institute of Law and has held every position in the SB County Bar Association. Now Des O’Neill is the President of the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet and is also a performer in local theater and the Nutcracker Ballet.