Trojans play without O'Neill

2011-03-12T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:14:09Z Trojans play without O'Neill Arizona Daily Star
March 12, 2011 12:00 am

LOS ANGELES - USC suspended Trojans basketball coach Kevin O'Neill for Friday night's USC-Arizona game and the rest of the Pac-10 tournament after an incident Thursday night with a UA booster.

USC athletic director Pat Haden said assistant Bob Cantu would coach the Trojans tonight, after meeting with O'Neill and others with knowledge of the incident. Haden said O'Neill would have an additional penalty that would remain private.

"Coach O'Neill was remorseful and apologetic and accepted responsibility for his actions," Haden said in a statement. "He understood that his actions were unacceptable and that they reflect poorly on him, his team and USC. We hold our coaches to very high standards, as they are role models to the student-athletes they lead. Clearly, coach O'Neill used poor judgment and failed in this situation.

"Coach O'Neill is a good man and an outstanding basketball coach. He made a bad decision in this instance and is now suffering the consequences."

O'Neill told the Star earlier today that he had a non-physical argument with a UA booster and apologized to his players and administration. The incident happened Thursday night at the JW Marriott, which is across from the Staples Center.

"I met with our players and apologized to them and then we talked basketball," O'Neill said.

When asked about an altercation with O'Neill, UA booster Paul Weitman said via telephone, "I don't have any comment about that."

Weitman is a close friend of former UA coach Lute Olson, who removed O'Neill from his staff upon returning from a leave of absence after the 2007-08 season, when O'Neill served as the Wildcats' interim head coach.

Weitman also provided a private plane for then-UA athletic director Jim Livengood to use during his 2009 coaching search that brought in Sean Miller.

UA athletic director Greg Byrne said earlier Friday that he was "aware of the situation," but declined further comment.

O'Neill also apologized in his statement, released via USC's athletic website blog.

Bruce Pascoe

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 12 2 0 0.857 24 3 0 0.889
Utah 11 3 0 0.786 21 5 0 0.808
Oregon 10 5 0 0.667 20 8 0 0.714
Stanford 8 6 0 0.571 17 9 0 0.654
UCLA 9 7 0 0.563 17 12 0 0.586
Oregon State 8 7 0 0.533 16 10 0 0.615
Arizona State 7 7 0 0.500 16 12 0 0.571
Washington State 6 9 0 0.400 12 15 0 0.444
Colorado 5 8 0 0.385 12 12 0 0.500
California 5 9 0 0.357 15 12 0 0.556
Washington 4 11 0 0.267 15 12 0 0.556
USC 2 13 0 0.133 10 17 0 0.370

AP Top 25


Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Washington State at
USC
2/25 70-66
Oregon at
California
2/25 80-69
Washington at
UCLA
2/25 66-88
Arizona at
Colorado
2/26 7:00 pm
Arizona State at
Utah
2/26 8:30 pm
Oregon State at
Stanford
2/26 9:00 pm
Arizona at
Utah
2/28 7:00 pm
Washington at
USC
2/28 8:00 pm
Oregon State at
California
3/1 1:00 pm
Oregon at
Stanford
3/1 5:00 pm
Arizona State at
Colorado
3/1 6:30 pm
Washington State at
UCLA
3/1 7:30 pm
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