Chris was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 25, 1954 to Jim and Jayne O'Connell. He graduated from Mukwonago High School in 1972, where he lettered in football and track.
Chris attended the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and played football his freshman year. He then transferred to the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, where he majored in Physical Education and Coaching. After graduating, Chris moved to Eau Claire and became the Adaptive Physical Education teacher at the Eau Claire Academy.
Chris started his 30 year coaching career as an assistant at Mukwonago High School. He also was an assistant coach at La Crosse Aquinas, Viroqua, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and Regis High School. He became the Head Coach at Eau Claire Regis in 1989.
During Coach O'Connell's career at Regis, the Ramblers won 4 State Championships: 1992, 1993, 1999 & 2003 and a State Runner Up Title in 2002. The Ramblers qualified for the state playoffs 11 times. Chris was the head coach for the North All-Star Team in 2008 and an assistant coach in 2004. During his 18 years with the Ramblers, he helped build on a tradition of excellence, teamwork, and having fun.
Other Honors include: Green Bay Packers Coach of the Week, Twice named District Coach of the Year, Alumni Coach of the Year for the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, and 2 WIAA Football Sportsmanship Awards.
Coach O'Connell was blessed to have coached many great young athletes. He was always proud of their accomplishments on and off the field.
Chris greatly appreciated his assistant coaches and booster club who were always committed to helping student athletes reach their greatest potential.
Four Hall of Fame Coaches who had a positive impact on his coaching career were Marty Crowe, Geno Golden, Link Walker, and Dick Rundle.
Chris married his wife, Cheryl in 1984 and they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have 2 sons, Ryan and Mike, who both played for their father at Eau Claire Regis. Coaching his two sons was one of the highlights of his coaching career. Each was named to the All-State football team and played in the WFCA All-Star Game.
Since retiring from high school football, Chris has continued his love of the game by coaching a local amateur football team. A special thanks to and the WFCA for this tremendous recognition.
Tag(s): Hall of Fame