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Kevin O'Neill shows his sense of humor

6/17/2010

In case you missed it last week, USC athletic director Mike Garrett didn't look very good at a booster event when he called the NCAA sanctions "nothing but a lot of envy."

Coach Kevin O'Neill also spoke at the event and showed off his personality in a more positive way, according to television reporter Lindsay Soto, who moderated the discussion on stage.

O’Neill is surprisingly funny. (I can’t tell you how many Trojan fans told me, after events, that the hoops coach had won them over with his relatively candid, seemingly genuine, and genuinely humorous remarks. He’s so intense on the sideline. They weren’t expecting his dry sense of humor.)

Going back in my tape recorder, O'Neill indeed was able to produce some laughs that evening. He made the rounds. He needled Lane Kiffin about Tennessee.

When the issue of discipline was raised, the notoriously in-your-face coach had this to say:

"I just hug 'em and kiss 'em," O'Neill joked. "You can show up whatever time you want ... have a Bon Bon, whatever you want to do."

Forward Nikola Vucevic also made O'Neill's comedy routine.

"He has a chance to play in the NBA, but I also keep reminding him he is the most improved player in the Pac-10, which means you were bad," O'Neill said.

O'Neill can mellow out in front of the program's boosters, but implicit in his message is also that his players still shouldn't expect to be coddled going forward.

Hey, but it was hilarious to imagine, wasn't it?