After an internal investigation into the alleged confrontation Thursday night between USC coach Kevin O’Neill, his wife Roberta and University of Arizona booster Paul Weitman, USC athletic director Pat Haden announced Friday afternoon that O’Neill would be suspended for the rest of the Pac-10 tournament effective immediately.
“I have talked to Coach Kevin O’Neill and expressed my disappointment in his involvement in an incident last night and which he and his engaged in an argument with a support of another school,” Haden said in a statement. “We have met with various parties who have knowledge of the incident. Based on the information we have gathered, I am immediately suspending Coach O’Neill for the balance of the Pac-10 Tournament and have also set forth additional discipline that will remain private.”
USC returns to the Staples Center floor tonight at 6 p.m. for their semifinal matchup with O’Neill’s former team, No.15 Arizona.
If the Trojans pull off the upset they would only have one more tournament game against either Washington or Oregon tomorrow afternoon in the tournament final.
“I understand my behavior as the leader of our team was unacceptable. I used poor judgment and put my team and USC in a bad light. I regret that I have let them down,” O’Neill said in response to his suspension. “I respect and accept the disciplinary actions imposed on me by USC. It is something that I will have to live with. I look forward to learning from this, moving forward and coaching the Trojans well into the future.”
Head assistant coach Bob Cantu will assume O’Neill’s coaching duties for the remainder of the tournament.
In two years as the Trojans’ coach, O’Neill is 35-27.