UPDATED: 1:22 p.m.
Don’t mess with Kevin O’Neill. Especially when he’s out celebrating and has had a few. And definitely not when he’s with his wife. And if you’re bold enough to talk trash to the USC coach, for goodness sake don’t wear Arizona blue and red, the colors of his old school.
Well O’Neill added an interesting footnote in the rich legacy of the Pac-10 and its tournament last night. While celebrating the Trojans 70-56 quarterfinal win over California, O’Neill got into an altercation with a Wildcats fan at the JW Marriott hotel across the street from the Staples Center.
“We have received some information [Thursday night] about an incident involving coach Kevin O’Neill, his wife and a fan from another school that occurred following our men’s basketball game today,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in the statement. “We are looking into this and gathering facts. We will determine what appropriate action is necessary.”
Word about the incident began to spread around Staples Center last night after Washingotn’s big win. While nothing is confirmed, initial reports said O’Neill got into a fight with a fan. Not exactly sure what that means. Getting into a fight is somewhat vague. Security was called to the scene. Some say alcohol was involved and O’Neill was visibly intoxicated. Others say O’Neill and his wife Roberta were asked to leave the hotel.
Suffice to say, it’s a distraction the No. 4 seed Trojans didn’t need before their 6:10 p.m. semifinal against No. 1 Arizona.
O’Neill spoke to ESPN’s Andy Katz today and cleared up some facts. There was not a fight, but rather a verbal confrontation.
“I regret the incident and I want to apologize to my team, the university and the fans,” O’Neill told Katz. “I look forward to a great game between two great teams tonight.”
The incident involved 70-year-old Arizona booster Paul Weitman.
UPDATED: 1:22 p.m.
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