by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, January 3, 2013
If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you have figured out that I do not like Kevin O’Neill’s coaching style. He is often referred to as a brilliant defensive coach. Indeed, O’Neill’s track record indicates as much. His teams have been consistently able to prevent points pretty well. Like Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon, his reputation is artificially enhanced by the slow pace of his teams, but there’s still a lot of substance there. It should be required, though, that when someone cites O’Neill’s defensive ability, they also indicate that he is a rather hideous offensive coach.
When Kevin O’Neill was hired at USC it didn’t make a lot of sense. His resume is not one that would scream out for a potential hire at a Pac-12 school. He had success at Marquette in the early 90’s and seems to have lived off that. From there he went to Tennessee which didn’t work out so he bailed to Northwestern, which ended in an 0-16 Big Ten record three years later. From there, his next head-coaching job was with the Toronto Raptors where he lasted one season. Then there was the weird season at Arizona, filling in for Lute Olson in 2007-08, where he actually had a team that scored a bunch of points and wasn’t so obsessed with defense. But he ticked off a bunch of people and was not retained.