LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin O'Neill was fired as Southern California basketball coach today after 3½ years during which he failed to turn around a program weighed down by NCAA issues that preceded his arrival and a string of player injuries.
O'Neill had a 48-65 record, including 7-10 this season after going 6-26 last year, setting a school record for losses.
Veteran assistant Bob Cantu will serve as interim coach while USC searches for a successor. Cantu took over for O'Neill during a Pac-10 tournament semifinal game against Arizona in 2010-11 when the coach was suspended after getting into a verbal confrontation with a Wildcats booster. He has remained on the staff through four coaching changes and is the longest tenured assistant in the Pac-12.
Athletic director Pat Haden said it became evident to him that the program needed new leadership.
"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," he said.
The Trojans are 2-2 in the Pac-12 after a road split last weekend. They lost at Colorado before winning at Utah to snap a 14-game road skid. USC has lost nine of its last 13 games, which included a five-game skid.
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