Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
USC reinstated head coach Kevin O’Neill on Sunday, two days after he had been suspended.
“Effective immediately, I am reinstating Kevin O’Neill as our men’s basketball head coach,” USC AD Pat Haden said in a statement. “Coach O’Neill and I have talked numerous times these past few days. He has continued to express his regret and embarrassment over the incident that led to his suspension from any remaining games of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament.
“… Further, he understands that he let them down as their role model and leader. He has apologized to his team, as well as to me, our administration, our fans and the Pac-10.”
Various reports indicated O’Neill and his wife, Roberta, got involved in a verbal altercation with an Arizona booster, Paul Weitman, in the lobby of the JW Marriot in Los Angeles Thursday night.
“I’m excited to be back coaching the Trojans and I am looking forward to the postseason,” O’Neill said. “This is a special team and we have shown that we can compete with anyone in the country.
“But I temper my excitement of being reinstated with the realization that I made a serious error in judgment the other night. The disciplinary measures that Pat Haden took, including the suspension, were absolutely the right call. My wife, Roberta, and I are both very apologetic for the embarrassment we caused the Trojan Family. We vow to move forward in a positive manner.”
Under assistant coach Bob Cantu, USC lost to Arizona, 67-62, in the Pac-10 semifinals Friday night. The Trojans await word on an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“It was a difficult lesson for Coach O’Neill,” Haden said. “I believe the suspension served its purpose and will eliminate any such inappropriate behavior by Coach O’Neill in the future. Although he has been reinstated, Coach O’Neill knows that he still faces additional institutional discipline and a fine.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.