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USC basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill fires two assistants, source says

O'Neill reportedly notified assistants Gib Arnold and Phil Johnson, who worked under former coach Tim Floyd, that they would not be remaining with the team.

March 09, 2010|By Baxter Holmes

USC men's basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill has decided not to retain two assistant coaches who were holdovers from when Tim Floyd coached the team last year, a source close to the situation told The Times on Monday.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet official, said that O'Neill notified assistants Gib Arnold and Phil Johnson that they would not be staying with the team.

Arnold and Johnson both spent five years at USC.

O'Neill's decision leaves Bob Cantu, who largely handles recruiting for the team, as the only assistant that remains from Floyd's staff. Cantu has been at USC for nine seasons.

Floyd, who coached the Trojans from 2006 to 2009, resigned last June amid allegations of scandal surrounding former player O.J. Mayo. Floyd is currently an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets.

He recently appeared at USC's meeting with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in late February, and the Times reported then, according to a source, that Floyd again denied allegations that he paid a former advisor close to Mayo.

It is unknown how O'Neill's coaching staff will shape up at this point, though it seems likely that he will hire from outside the program. One possibility is that he could promote Tony Miller, who is currently the team's strength and conditioning coach and played for O'Neill at Marquette from 1992-94.

USC ended its season Saturday with an 86-84 double-overtime loss to Arizona, giving the Trojans a final record of 16-14 this season, O'Neill's first as its head coach. The team was banned from postseason play for self-imposed sanctions involving the allegations surrounding Mayo.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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