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USC fires basketball coach O'Neill

The SportsXchange

USC announced Monday that it has fired men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill, whose team was 7-10 this season.

USC assistant coach Bob Cantu will be the interim head coach until a permanent replacement for O'Neill is named.

O'Neill was in his fourth year at USC and had a 48-65 overall record. The Trojans finished 6-26 last season, including 1-17 in the Pac-12, but the team was hit with a rash of injuries that took away a lot of their top players. This season, however, the return of injured players and the addition of some touted transfers was expected to give USC a much improved team.

The Trojans stand at 2-2 in the conference, and the Trojans lost at Colorado by six points last Thursday and beat Utah 76-59 on the Utes' homecourt on Saturday.

"I would like to thank Kevin O'Neill for his four years of service to USC," Athletic Director Pat Haden said, according to school website. "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. I feel confident that Bob Cantu will capably guide our team on an interim basis while we search for a new coach."

"I enjoyed my four years at USC," O'Neill said. "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. I would encourage all of our recruits to honor their commitment to USC and help build the Trojan program in the right direction."
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