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USC is still looking for a basketball coach

Multiple candidates, including Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon and former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, have turned down the position.

June 20, 2009|Chris Foster

Former Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus has removed his name from consideration for the USC job, a source close to Theus said.

Theus interviewed for the job Thursday but was apparently left in limbo when USC representatives approached Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon for a second time, according to a source familiar with the Trojans' program. Dixon reiterated that he was not interested, the source said.

USC has also been rebuffed by former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and had an offer turned down by Nevada Las Vegas Coach Lon Kruger. That has left Athletic Director Mike Garrett looking into backup plans.

That may include Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Kevin O'Neill, who is believed to be under consideration. O'Neill was Arizona's interim coach in 2007-08 and has previously been the head coach at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern.

Garrett, who has declined to discuss the coach search, has also talked with Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons. Brian Shaw, another Lakers assistant, is interested in the job as well.

Theus, who spent two seasons as coach at New Mexico State, seemed eager to get the USC job, those close to the former NBA star said. But there were concerns about his game coaching skills.

Dixon, who has a contract through the 2015-16 season, was Garrett's first choice. A source familiar with the USC basketball program said Dixon wouldn't consider a deal unless it included an out clause in case USC were to be hit with NCAA sanctions. USC officials refused to consider it at the time.

USC's football and basketball programs are being investigated by the NCAA, which is believed to be looking into institutional control issues. The investigation led basketball coach Tim Floyd to resign on June. 9.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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