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Kevin O'Neill discusses being fired as USC's basketball coach

January 14, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Kevin O'Neill will no longer be giving directions to Byron Wesley or any other Trojans, but he says of coaching at USC: "It's a great basketball job, great."
Kevin O'Neill will no longer be giving directions to Byron Wesley… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Kevin O'Neill, fired Monday by USC as its men's basketball coach,  talked with The Times after his ouster was announced.

Question: How did you receive the news?

Answer: You know, [Athletic Director Pat Haden] sent me a text last night that he and [senior associate athletic director] Steve Lopes wanted to meet at 8 this morning. Did I know what it was about? In this business you always have that sense. Nothing surprises me.

I thanked him for the time at USC. I enjoyed my time, had a great time. There's no ill feelings and I hope all of our recruits come and I hope our team wins. I love the players and I feel bad I couldn't do more for them. For example, I felt J.T. Terrell was getting it.

Q: Will you coach again?

A: Yeah, I think so.

Q: In college or NBA?

A: Doesn't really matter. I've done this for 33 years and I'm probably not taking up flying planes or something. If I did I'd probably crash it.

Q: What did Haden say this morning?

A: He just informed me he didn't need my services any longer.

It's a great basketball job, great. Are we better off than when I took the job? That's for someone else to decide. Right now I'm driving down the 405 and I'm going home, going to put on my running gear and run on the beach.

Q: Did Haden mention the incident at the Pac-12 tournament involving alcohol and a fight with an Arizona fan as a reason?

A: No, he did not. I have no idea if that was part of this or not. As I said, nothing in this business surprises me.

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