Coach McNeal, as he is affectionately called, began his neophyte coaching career in 1959 under the mentorship with Coaches Hawking’s and Rob at Shakespeare Park (NORD) in New Orleans, Louisiana (Orleans Parish). This park is located in uptown by the old Magnolia Projects, now known as, Harmony Square. He continued his coaching interest at Carter G. Woodson Junior High School under the watchful eyes of Head Coaches Winston ‘Brill Cream’ Burns, Sr., Melville Allen, Ron Stuart, Herman ‘Pu Nanny’ Bacchus, Roy Glappon, Sr., and Coach Saunders. At Carter G. Woodson Junior High School he met a track and field standout, Kirk Marshall Clayton, and other future exceptional student athletes. Some of the athletes he coached were Sam ‘Chop’ Holden, Curtis ‘Fluff’ Anderson, Wayne Reese, Michel ‘Pepper Hayes,’ Marvin ‘Squeaky’ Knight, Toby White, Thomas and Warren Spears, and Lady Tigers. He coached female athletes before ‘Title Nine’ passed. Two of these athletes were Lorie Jordan and Evelyn Murphy (Wilson). Later, he went to Booker T. Washington High School as a young coach apprentice, both schools are located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jimmy relocated to California where he was mentored in his coaching career by Mr. Yori Wada at the San Francisco Buchanan YMCA located in the Western Addition of San Francisco, California.
He coached with the San Francisco Public School System and the San Francisco Housing Authority before he returned to the Louisiana and coached at Southern University with the Southern University Track and Field Coach Johnny Thomas. Coach McNeal also worked as an assistant track coach at Xavier University and coached a number of USA Track and Field Teams and private track meets, namely, the Tommy Smith Invitational Track and Field Meet held annually in different states across the USA. Tommy Smith and John Carlos were part of the Project for Human Rights and Speed City of San Jose, California and boycotted the 1968 Olympic Games at Mexico City, México.
Coach McNeal is well known among the track and field community as both a competitor and as an official of the sport. In the San Francisco Bay area, he developed a number of current track and field athletes who compete on the national and international levels and he worked with the various individuals such as Jimmy Hines who won the1968 Olympic Games Gold Medal in the 100 meters and a member of the gold medal winning 4 x 100 meter relay at Mexico City, Mexico.
Presently, Coach McNeal is an independent track and field coach contractor. This position affords Coach McNeal an opportunity to develop and implement coaching clinics and offer valuable track meet organizational guidance to established track and field coaches. Among these coaches is Coach Chestnut of George Washington Carver Senior High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. So too, as a USA Track and Field Master Official, he officiates Track and Field meets throughout Louisiana, California and International Track and Field Meets.
Coach McNeal has many credentials. He has received many awards over the years and they are as follow: Jimmy Carter, President of the United States, Presidential Spots Award , Honorary member: Southern University Sports Hall of Fame, San Francisco Public library: Unsung Hero Award Winner, National youth sports program award, Jesse Owens Track and Field Award, founder of the West side McNeal Track Club, National Sports Festival official, United States track and field training official, Mayor’s Nick of Time Award from the Honorable Art Agnos of San Francisco, California, assistant track and field coach of the 1993 Pan American Track team competing in Winnipeg, Canada, Centennial (100) Olympic Games Recognition Certificate for the Games of the XXVI Olympiad held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.