Greg O'Neal

Greg has lived in Winchester since 1960, when his parents moved here with his dad’s(Merle) job at AEDC. His mother, Betty, worked for Dr. Gerald Johnson for 25 plus years and was beloved by the Winchester community. Greg is the oldest of four children (two brothers and a sister) and now has two children of his own, Carrie and Gregory, and five grandchildren with one on the way! 

Throughout his school days at Clark Memorial and Franklin County High, Greg was very active in athletics and excelled in both football and baseball.  On the high school baseball diamond, he played first base and swung a fierce bat! In a tight district game against Shelbyville, he hit a game winning home run that propelled the Rebels into the district tournament. But it wasn’t your average round tripper. It was measured to be over 450 feet! And that was in the days of the old wooden bats. The Rebels would go on to win the State Championship that year, 1968, with teammates Larry Patton, Ricky Morris, Phillip Fulmer and Donald Rhoton, among others. Greg was named to the All-Tournament team and later received offers to play professional baseball.

Coach Walter “Moose” Bouldin took over a struggling Franklin County High football program in 1965 and decided to start new with a bunch of hungry sophomores eager to play. Greg started at quarterback and other notable teammates were Phillip Fulmer, Jimmy Moss, Wayne Sawyer, Chipper Street and Ben Boswell. They did not win a game that year, going 0-10. But they did build character and the next two years won 7 and 8 games, respectively. They laid the foundation for a program that became a powerhouse in Middle Tennessee, sending multitudes of scholarship players to major college football programs. Four members of their Senior class received scholarships to play SEC football, including Greg to Vanderbilt. His two younger brothers, Robert and Johnny, inspired by his achievements, also earned scholarships to play for the Commodores. 

Throughout his high school football career, Greg was a QB and never played a “down” of defense. Once he got to Vanderbilt, he became a defensive back and never played a “down” of offense. He made the transition very well.  Greg intercepted 6 passes in 5 games and also returned a punt 68 yards for a TD against Ole Miss.  Their freshman team had a perfect 5-0 season.  In those days, freshmen were not allowed to play varsity.  They had a separate freshman team and played a 5 game schedule.  In his sophomore season, Greg started at cornerback and became a key player in the defensive secondary and continued throughout his career.  During that sophomore season, Alabama came to Nashville ranked 13th in the nation. Vandy pulled a stunning upset, beating the Tide 14-10. Bear Bryant said, “They not only beat us, they embarrassed us.” The Vandy secondary held Alabama quarterback Scott Hunter to 4 pass completions on 25 passing attempts, as Vandy outgained Alabama in total yards 473 to 201!

 After graduating from Vanderbilt, Greg completed Law School in Nashville, before returning to his hometown of Winchester to set up his law practice. His love of small town values, family, community, sports and the outdoors has been a thread throughout his life. I guess for a good ‘ole Franklin County boy, you could sum him up with these words - Faith, Family, Friends, Football and Fishing!!  

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