USC Hires Kevin O’NeillPosted by nvr1983 on June 20th, 2009
I’m beginning to think that there is some bizarre Arizona–USC connection going on after USC announced that former interim Wildcat coach Kevin O’Neill was going to take over as the Trojans new head coach. You may remember O’Neill from the Lute Olson fiasco after the 2007-2008 season, but O’Neill also has prior coaching experience at the college (171-180 in 12 seasons) and pro level (helpful if you’re running a program like the one Tim Floyd apparently ran in LA the past few years).
To recap the action at Arizona and USC the past two years:
- O’Neill takes over for Olson on an interim basis, but then Lute stabs him in the back and comes back for a short period before eventually retiring. O’Neill goes to work for the Memphis Grizzlies for a season.
- Arizona hires Russ Pennell to take over for Olson after O’Neill is let go.
- Tim Floyd guides the Trojans to respectability before O.J. Mayo comes to town. The Trojans manage to make it back to the NCAA tournament the year after Mayo leaves.
- Arizona decides not to renew Pennell’s contract and starts searching for big name to take over. They decide on Floyd, who briefly decides to take the job before changing his mind. Arizona eventually hires Xavier head coach Sean Miller.
- Floyd resigns leaving USC scrambling to find a head coach as it loses multiple recruits who decide to go to other programs. USC gets turned down by several big names including Jamie Dixon and Reggie Theus before selecting O’Neill.
O’Neill led the Wildcats to a 19-15 record and yet another NCAA tournament bid in his single season in Tucson, but according to some sources had difficulty connecting with the Wildcat players. While that may be a problem at some programs, I’m sure that the administration at USC will appreciate having a coach of one of their two major programs who follows the rules. While we would normally consider USC one of the best positions in the country, O’Neill has his work cut out for him with recruits leaving in droves and NCAA sanctions on the horizon.