O’Neill suspended for Pac-10 tourney

USC basketball coach Kevin O’Neill was suspended for the
remainder of the Pac-10 tournament after an incident involving him
and his wife, Roberta, and an Arizona fan.

Assistant coach Bob Cantu was named to replace O’Neill, and
Arizona defeated the Trojans 67-62 on Friday to oust USC from the
semifinals.

“I want to apologize to my team, our university and our fans for
my involvement last night in an incident with a fan,” O’Neill said
in a statement.

“I understand my behavior as the leader of our team was
unacceptable. I used poor judgment and put myself, my team and USC
in a bad light. I regret that I have let them down.”

According to a source, O’Neill and his wife were involved in a
verbal altercation with an Arizona donor. The O’Neills were kicked
out of the JW Mariott hotel in downtown Los Angeles by security,
just hours after USC’s win over Cal.

The Arizona donor suffered a laceration on his face. Calls to
the JW Mariott security department were not immediately
returned.

“I have talked to Coach Kevin O’Neill and expressed my
disappointment in his involvement in an incident last night in
which he and his wife engaged in an argument with a supporter of
another school,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said.

“Coach O’Neill was remorseful and apologetic and accepted
responsibility for his actions. He understood that his actions were
unacceptable and that they reflect poorly on him, his team and
USC.”

According to sources, O’Neill had multiple verbal exchanges with
former and current Arizona players on Thursday.

O’Neill took over at Arizona on an interim basis for a year in
2007-08 while Lute Olson stepped away from the team for health
reasons. O’Neil believed he should have gotten the permanent job in
Tucson.

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