The USC Trojans have fired head basketball coach Kevin O’Neill after starting the season 7-10. He was informed of this in his meeting this morning with athletic director Pat Hayden.
“They informed me they were going in a different direction,” O’Neill told ESPN.com “I thanked them for the opportunity. I have nothing but great things to say about the university. It’s a great place.”
It was easy to see that this was coming down the road as he is obviously one of the worst head coaches in college basketball. Last year, his third with USC, he lead the team to a 6-26 record and used injuries as his excuse. This year that excuse would not fly. The issues with O’Neill have been piling up for him over his numerous head coaching stops. He has never been considered a great communicator, he is quick to lose his temper and is not a flashy personality; all things needed to be a great head coach.
The biggest issue with O’Neill is his ego. Long considered a very good defensive coach he has let the compliments get to his head. He tried to do a quick fix with the Trojans and brought in too many transfers over his two years rather than doing the hard work of a college coach, recruit.
However then again, when you have his personality, it was probably a good decision not to try to do battle on the recruiting trails. He instead tried to piece together castoffs like J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart (both from Wake Forest), Omar Oraby (Rice) and Eric Wise (UC Irvine). Because he thinks too highly of his ability to coach he tried to cut corners and instead got himself cut. Associate head coach Bob Cantu, a 12-year member of the staff, will take over on an interim basis for the rest of the season.
Confidence is a slippery slope. Lack of self confidence will keep you from achieving your maximum potential, while over confidence will end up making you look like a fool. Pride comes before the fall, and O’Neill just landed on his face.