- Legends Division
Harold J. Neville, Jr. graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1949. Throughout his life, Harold showed his strong support of Catholic education in the Green Bay area as a coach, supportive alumnus and friend, giving generously of his time and resources.
Harold coached youth sports for over 40 years, beginning in 1964. While he also coached football and basketball, Harold made his biggest impact coaching baseball. Harold was a self-described “baseball nut who just loves the game.” In 1983, he helped start the Premontre High School baseball program and became its varsity coach. He remained coach at Premontre, and later at Notre Dame Academy, for almost 20 years, until he retired from coaching.
Harold coached hundreds of kids, and was an excellent and successful coach. He took Notre Dame’s baseball team to the Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association baseball championship game in 2000, after defeating Burlington Catholic Central in a thrilling 13-12 comeback in the semi-final game. That same season, he coached Notre Dame to its first Fox River Valley Conference championship, with a win over two-time defending champion Green Bay Preble. He described the FRVC title as the crown jewel of his coaching career. He also is credited with helping get baseball started in the Green Bay public schools in the early 1990s and was a key figure in American Legion Baseball, sponsoring and coaching several teams.
More than winning, Harold’s goal as a coach was to make a positive impact on his players. He once explained that he got into coaching to "set a good example" and "be a good influence" on young people. After he retired, he relished running into his former players around Green Bay, often many years after they played for him, and catching up with them. He once said he enjoyed coaching because it gave him "a chance to see kids really grow up and turn out to be decent people doing well in life." After all, he said, "kids aren't as bad as everybody tries to make them out to be."
Harold was honored as the Fox Valley Christian Conference Baseball Coach of the Year in 1985, and again in 1990. He was selected to coach the 1984 All-Star Legion Baseball Game at County Stadium in Milwaukee. He also was honored at the annual Red Smith Dinner and received the JC Rec Baseball Award.
Almost a decade after he retired from coaching, Notre Dame surprised him in May 2011 when it held a field dedication in his honor before a game against Green Bay East. Since that day, the Tritons’ home field has been known as Harold Neville Park. In his typical modest manner, Harold told a reporter when interviewed about the honor that “I was aghast when I drove in [the Notre Dame parking lot] and saw the sign with my name on it.” He explained “I don’t know if I’ve done that much. I tried to do a lot for kids. I know I helped in a lot of different areas, but I never expected anything like that.” But he said: “It’s a great honor. It’s wonderful. I’m very happy and very proud.” He remarked “the kids I coached, there wasn’t a bad one in the crowd.”
In 1993, Harold was given the Founders Award by Notre Dame Academy for his strong support of Catholic education. He also was a past member of the Catholic High School Foundation.
Harold passed away peacefully after a brief illness on July 8, 2020. His wife, Mary (Van Bellinger) (Killoran) Neville (St. Joseph Academy ’58) preceded him in death in 2018.
Harold’s good nature and dedication and devotion to God, teaching, the community, sports and Catholic education inspired everyone around him.