Southern California fires basketball coach O’Neill

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LOS ANGELES — Kevin O’Neill was fired as Southern California’s basketball coach after 3½ years during which he failed to turn around a program weighed down by NCAA issues that preceded his arrival and a string of player injuries.

O’Neill had a 48-65 record, including 7-10 this season after going 6-26 last year, setting a school record for losses.

Veteran assistant Bob Cantu will serve as interim coach while USC searches for a successor.

Cantu took over for O’Neill during a Pac-10 tournament semifinal game against Arizona in 2010-11 when the coach was suspended after getting into a confrontation with a Wildcats booster.

Athletic director Pat Haden said it was evident to him that the program needed new leadership.

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