Dr. Richard O’Neal, a former Horned Frog basketball star, died Tuesday, Sept. 17 at age 78.
Three years ago O’Neal, who played basketball at the university from 1955 to 1957, became the first TCU basketball player to have his jersey honored.
O’Neal died in his sleep at home in Weatherford, Texas. The cause of death remains uncertain. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, his wife, Gayle O’Neal, said she believes it may have been an aneurysm.
He was born in Dallas on Sept. 7, 1935 and played both baseball and basketball at Polytechnic High School.
The university’s only three-time All-American, O’Neal ranks fourth in both all-time scoring for the Horned Frogs with 1,723 points and in rebounds with 790.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry.
O’Neal was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1957 NBA draft as the sixteenth overall pick, but he chose to attend dental school instead and graduated from Baylor University School of Dentistry in 1962.
He then spent two years in the Army before opening his own dentistry practice in Fort Worth. After four years, he sold his practice and returned to dental school to become an orthodontist.
In 1985, O’Neal was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
He also served as the Fort Worth school board president from 1978 to 1987.
O’Neal is survived by his wife, four children and 13 grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at Christ Chapel Bible Church on Tuesday, Sept. 24.