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USC fires basketball coach despite road win over Utes

Published January 14, 2013 10:16 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

USC has fired head basketball coach Kevin O'Neill just two days after the Trojans snapped a streak of 14 road losses with a rout of the University of Utah.

USC assistant Bob Cantu will serve as the program's interim head coach in the wake of Monday's firing, the school announced. O'Neill was in his fourth season as the Trojans' head coach and had amassed a 48-65 record.

"He took over a program under difficult circumstances because of our NCAA issues and, despite that, he was able to do some good things," USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a news release. "It was hard for me to evaluate him as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete. As the season progressed, it became evident to me that we needed new leadership in our men's basketball program. Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."

The Trojans had struggled early in the season, particularly away from home. USC lost at Colorado last week before routing the Utes, winning 76-59 in Salt Lake City.