Arnold, Johnson fired by O'Neill

USC Trojans head coach Kevin O'Neill has fired two assistant coaches in Gib Arnold and Phil Johnson, who were holdovers from Tim Floyd's staff.

Arnold and Johnson each spent five years at USC, helping the Trojans make three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances under Floyd, who suddenly quit last summer. With their departures, Bob Cantu will be the only remaining assistant coach from that staff.

"This is a decision I wrestled with for a while," O'Neill said in a statement released by the school. "It had nothing to do with their coaching
ability or performance, or with any issues related to the current status of the Trojan
program. It simply has to do with the vision I have for how I want to structure this
program. I want to move in a different direction."

USC finished O'Neill's first season with a 16-14 overall record and an 8-10 mark in the Pac-10. The Trojans are ineligible for postseason play, including this week's conference tournament, because of self-imposed sanctions relating to former player O.J. Mayo's inappropriate relationship with an agent.

"I am thankful that I was able to help Kevin during his transition year," Arnold said in a statement released by the school. "I am also very
grateful for the five wonderful years I spent as part of the Trojan family. This five-year
period produced more wins, NCAA appearances and NBA players than any other such
span in USC basketball history. I am very proud that I could play a role in that success."

Johnson echoed his thoughts.

"This is best for Kevin O'Neill and for Phil Johnson," Johnson said in a statement. "I'm proud of being part of three straight
20-win seasons and three straight NCAA appearances, both school records.

"I have no doubt that Kevin and his new staff will do extremely well and I'm sure exceed

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.