USC fires O'Neill

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USC fired head men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill on Monday.

O'Neill, who was in his fourth year at USC, guided the Trojans to a 7-10 start this season. USC has lost nine of its last 13 games since starting the season with a 3-1 mark.

The 55-year-old O'Neill compiled a 48-65 record during his time at USC. Assistant coach Bob Cantu will serve as interim head coach while a search for O'Neill's successor is conducted.

"It was hard for me to evaluate him as a head coach until this year when he had enough players and veterans to compete," USC athletic director Pat Haden said. "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.

"I feel confident that Bob Cantu will capably guide our team on an interim basis while we search for a new coach."

Following a 19-15 season in 2010-11 that ended with a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans went 6-26 in an injury-plagued 2011-12 campaign.

"I enjoyed my four years at USC. It is a special place," O'Neill said. "I enjoyed the people I worked with, the players I coached and our fans. I thank USC for allowing me to guide their program. I couldn't be more proud to work anywhere.

"I would encourage all of our recruits to honor their commitment to USC and help build the Trojan program in the right direction."

USC plays Oregon on Thursday.