In one of the worst kept secrets in Tucson Lute Olson today announced the hiring of Russ Pennell as an assistant coach. Pennell replaces Kevin O'Neil, who as of today still works for the AD's office but is not a coach.
Pennell served as an assistant coach for Arizona State for eight seasons from 1998-2006. Pennell has worked with former ASU coach Rob Evans since 1992 both at Mississippi and Arizona State. He also spent two years at Oklahoma State under coach Eddie Sutton from 1990-1992.
For the past two years he has worked on the Arizona State Radio Network.
“We’re happy to be adding a coach like Russ to our staff with his wealth of experience,” said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. “He is an outstanding coach, a hard worker and a wonderful family man. I’m sure Russ and his family will fit into the Tucson community very nicely.”
Pennell was widely rumored to be taking over for O'Neil even prior to him being moved to another department with in the AD's office. Basketball coaches at the university are considered state job, thus they most be posted for two weeks prior to someone being hired-explaining the delay in the official introduction.
Pennell will be the third assistant head coach in as many years. Besides O'Neil, Jim Rosborough also held that job. He too now holds other duties with in the athletic department.
Olson now has a second job to fill, Miles Simmon did not have has contract renewed Friday.