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Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Arnold and Johnson officially out

By Pedro Moura

Basketball assistants Gib Arnold and Phil Johnson will not be retained, the university officially announced in a statement Tuesday.

The decision came after a long process, USC coach Kevin O'Neill said.

"This is a decision I wrestled with for a while," O'Neill said in the statement. "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."

Arnold and Johnson were brought on when former coach Tim Floyd was hired in 2005 and each spent five seasons with the team. Arnold said he had known for "some time" that O'Neill intended to bring his own assistants at some point.

"I understand and support this decision and wish Kevin, his new staff and the USC basketball team all my best," Arnold said. "I am thankful that I was able to help Kevin during his transition year."

Johnson, who also served as an assistant coach with Arizona and the NBA's Chicago Bulls, said he was proud to be a part of USC's three straight consecutive winning seasons under Floyd.

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

Bob Cantu, often named one of the top assistants in the nation, will stay with the program. Cantu has served an assistant under former USC coach Henry Bibby, Floyd and O'Neill.

The official statements from O'Neill, Arnold and Johnson are available here.