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.