Thursday, April 24, 2008
The saga of Arizona basketball rolls on (and on, and on, and on).
Wednesday Arizona A.D. Jim Livengood reassigned Kevin O'Neil to a fundraising role until the end of the fiscal year in June. After that it's anyone's guess what O'Neil will do.
O'Neil most plausible course of action will be to return to the NBA, most likely as an assistant coach. His name has not be mentioned with any of the current openings (Chicago Bulls and New York Knick).
The move allows Lute Olson to look for someone to fill the job that O'Neil held for a year. Several names have come up, including former ASU assistant Russ Pennell and ex U.A. assistant Rodney Tention. Tention was fired by Loyola Marymount earlier this season as the head coach.
Sadly this move doesn't appear to change any of the problems the university will face. O'Neil can still sue the university if they don't pay him the $375,000 it owes him for the 2008-09 season. O'Neil could also sue over a verbal promise to take over as head coach when Olson retires-all indications are that this deal is now off the table.
This move is the final slap in the face for O'Neil, who has been called a cancer on the team by some Wildcat fans. For whatever reason the relationship between Olson and O'Neil soured at some point over the past season and it has been downhill since then.
But why didn't the university just let him go? They are going to have to pay him, no matter what, right? It seems to me that it would be more respectful just to pay him to go away.
Instead they decided to give him a meaningless job, for about 60 days. 60 days!
What is he going to do over those days. Make a few calls. Take a few vacation days. Take a few sick days.
The entire thing is seedy and mysterious. Then again it has been all along.