USC suspends coach for rest of Pac-10 tourney

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He’s in his second season with the Trojans, who were back in the league tourney after sitting out last season as part of self-imposed sanctions for NCAA violations involving former star O.J. Mayo.

O’Neill was hired by coach Lute Olson as an assistant at Arizona before the 2007-08 season, and became interim coach when Olson took a medical leave of absence.

O’Neill led the Wildcats to a 19-15 record and the school’s 24th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, at the time the nation’s longest active streak.

He was designated Olson’s permanent successor, but when the Hall of Famer returned that spring he announced O’Neill would no longer be part of the program.

“There were some trying times there,” O’Neill said in June 2009 upon being hired at USC. “A lot of people said a lot of things after I left. I didn’t say anything. I don’t have any ill will or any bad feelings whatsoever, plus I ended up in a better job.”

Haden said he spoke with O’Neill and “expressed my disappointment in his involvement in an incident last night in which he and his wife engaged in an argument with a supporter of another school.”

“Coach O’Neill was remorseful and apologetic and accepted responsibility for his actions. He understood that his actions were unacceptable and that they reflect poorly on him, his team and USC,” Haden said.

O’Neill said he respects and accepts the discipline imposed by USC.

“I look forward to learning from this, moving forward and coaching the Trojans well into the future,” he said.

Before the suspension was announced, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said he knew the Pac-10 and USC were looking into the incident and he had full confidence it would be handled in the proper way.

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