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USC fires O’Neill in midst of turbulent season
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On January 14, 2013 @ 1:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
USC announced it fired fourth-year coach Kevin O’Neill on Monday morning after just four Pac-12 games.
Interestingly enough, the firing came two days after one of O’Neill’s best wins on the Trojans’ bench, a 76-59 victory at Utah. He’d also lost to the likes of Nebraska, Georgia and UC-Irvine earlier this season.
USC says it will begin its search for O’Neill’s successor now, and assistant Bob Cantu will coach the team in the interim.
“I would like to thank Kevin O’Neill for his four years of service to USC,” athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. “He took over a program under difficult circumstances because of our NCAA issues and, despite that, he was able to do some good things.
“It was hard for me to evaluate him as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete. As the season progressed, it became evident to me that we needed new leadership in our men’s basketball program. Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team.
Said O’Neill: “I enjoyed my four years at USC. It is a special place. I enjoyed the people I worked with, the players I coached and our fans. I thank USC for allowing me to guide their program. I couldn’t be more proud to work anywhere.”
O’Neill posted a 48-65 overall record at USC, including 7-10 this season. Prior to USC, O’Neill had been a head coach at Marquette, Tennessee, Northwestern and Arizona (as an interim head coach). He also had a few stints in the NBA in the early 2000s.
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