According to PointGuardU.com, an Arizona-centric website, USC coach Kevin O’Neill and his wife, Roberta, were involved in a heated altercation with university donor Paul Weitman inside the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles hours just after the Trojans’ 70-56 quarterfinal win over California in the Pac-10 tournament.
KVOA.com in Tucson reports the O’Neills had to be escorted off hotel property after Roberta struck a long-time Arizona fan.
The station says the nature of the confrontation is unknown at this time and would not confirm whether the long-time fan was in fact Weitman.
“We have received some information about an incident involving coach Kevin O’Neill, his wife and a fan from another school that occurred following our men’s basketball game today,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement last night. “We are looking into this and gathering facts. We will determine what appropriate action is necessary.
O’Neill served as the Wildcats’ coach on an interim basis during the 2007-2008 season while Lute Olson took a leave of absence from the team.
It was long believed he would succeed Olson in Tucson, Ariz., but the university failed to drop his interim tag and fired him after just one season.
Tonight’s semifinal between the Trojans and No. 15 Arizona is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Staples Center.
Whether O’Neill will be on the USC sideline for tonight’s game remains unclear, but he did issue an apology during a phone interview with Yahoo! Sports.
“I apologize to the university,” he said. “The last thing I’d ever want to do is cause anyone any embarrassment. I’m confident our team won’t let this become a distraction.”
O’Neill went on to admit he had had a “few drinks” but claims initial reports about the incident are “grossly inaccurate.”