Eric McNeal has been named the new head coach for the Smith-Cotton wrestling program. McNeal’s hire was approved Monday night by the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education.

Sedalia School District 200

McNeal is finishing his first year as a history teacher at Smith-Cotton High School. He has a lifetime of experience in wrestling, going back to being a conference and district champion and two-time state qualifier during his days at Boonville R-I High School. He has served as a volunteer assistant coach in the Jackson R-II and Boonville R-I districts, and was an assistant coach and later head coach at Tipton.

McNeal succeeds Charlie McFail, who led the Tigers to the West Central Conference championship this year; McFail stepped down from the position after being named S-C’s new football head coach.

Smith-Cotton Athletic Director Rob Davis said: “We are excited to have Coach McNeal leading our wrestling program. He has been around the sport of wrestling his entire life and has several years of coaching experience. I look for him to continue the momentum we have built the last several wrestling seasons."

McNeal is in his 10th year teaching, serving previously at Southern Reynolds R-II, Pilot Grove and Tipton. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri State in May 2004 and his master’s from the American Public University System in December 2010.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Smith-Cotton wrestling program, which is one of the oldest in the state,” McNeal said.

“There is a lot of history and tradition here and I am grateful for the chance to continue to move it forward. The sport of wrestling has given me so much over the years and I look forward to giving back and sharing the benefits of this sport with our student-athletes so that they can continue to grow and achieve their potential," he added.