Kevin O'Connor is an exceptionally dedicated and energetic person who generously gives his time to community service, while demonstrating an equal level of energy and enthusiasm in his professional life. A computer scientist at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, RI, he serves as a mentor to junior employees and readily shares his experience and accomplishments with co-workers.
After work, Kevin switches gears to motivate and mentor children through sports. He started coaching youth sports teams when his own children began participating in the Newport Recreation Department, about eight years ago. Since then, he has coached hundreds of local children, ages 5 through 13, in youth sports programs including basketball, baseball and soccer.
Since he became involved, the number of travel teams at Newport Recreation has expanded from one to eight teams. He has doubled the female participation rate, broadened the geographic area served and diversified the athletic program by offering economically disadvantaged children the opportunity to participate in programs at no charge. He conducts numerous basketball clinics for kids and adults who need skill development.
Kevin initiated a fundraising basketball tournament which will be playing its fifth season this Thanksgiving. The $15,000 raised to date has been utilized to purchase equipment and uniforms and allowed the teams to play in tournaments in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
In recognition of his unparalleled dedication as coach, Kevin was selected as the Boston Celtics 2003-04 Junior NBA/Junior WNBA Coach of the Year, honored as one of the top youth coaches chosen from nearly 50,000 coaches in the U. S. and abroad. The Newport Daily News cited Kevin's respectful treatment of players and the passion he brings to coaching.
In addition to the Newport Recreation teams, Kevin began coaching in Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball team in 2005 in nearby Jamestown, RI. The team made it to the Providence Diocesan Championship and went on to compete at the New England level. The following year, Kevin organized a new CYO basketball program in Newport, funded by the church.
One of the boys Kevin has coached is an at-risk youth and Kevin has become involved in his academic life by attending meetings at his school, helping him to set goals, lobbying for inclusion in various programs, and arranging and paying for a weekly tutor. He has gotten this boy involved in the CYO teams he coaches and includes him in activities with his own children at their schools so the boy can experience a different setting from the one he lives in.