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20070501 Kevin Oí»Neill Joins Men's Basketball Coaching Staff
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 01, 2007
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Kevin O'Neill brings 27 years of coaching experience back to Tucson. (photos courtesy

With a wealth of experience, former Wildcat aide rejoins staff


TUCSON , Ariz. ?C University of Arizona menˇ?s basketball coach Lute Olson today announced the hiring of Kevin Oˇ?Neill as an assistant coach.


Oˇ?Neill, 50, returns to college basketball after spending the last seven seasons in the National Basketball Association as both a head coach and an assistant.? In that span, his teams made five NBA playoff appearances with the 2002-03 Detroit Pistons advancing as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.? He was last a head coach in 2003-04 with the Toronto Raptors.? Most recently, Oˇ?Neill served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers in both 2005 and 2006.


ˇ?Iˇ?m really excited to once again be a part of Arizona basketball,ˇ± said Oˇ?Neill.? ˇ?This is a great program and Iˇ?m looking forward to working with Lute, the staff and our players.ˇ±


With almost 30 years of coaching experience on nearly every level of basketball, Oˇ?Neill rejoins the Arizona menˇ?s basketball staff after serving as an assistant coach from 1986-89.? Oˇ?Neill proved to be a stellar recruiter, as the Wildcats routinely inked top-10 recruiting classes.? In his three seasons in Tucson, Arizona posted an 82-19 (.812) record, won two regular season and two postseason Pac-10 championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.? The 1987-88 edition of the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four in Kansas City, Mo.


Oˇ?Neillˇ?s coaching career began in 1979-80 as the head coach at Hammond High School in Hammond, N.Y.? He jumped to the junior college ranks a year later, organizing North County Community College program in Saranac, N.Y.? Within two seasons the program earned a berth in the Region III junior college playoffs.


He then took the head coaching position at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, Oˇ?Neill guided the Marauding Eagles to a 17-14 (.548) record.


NCAA Division I jobs followed at the University of Delaware (1983-85) and Tulsa (1985-86).? In his lone season at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane went 23-9 (.719), won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship and advanced to the 1986 NCAA Tournament.


Oˇ?Neill left Tucson following the 1988-89 campaign to take over the head coaching duties at Marquette University.? In five seasons with the Golden Eagles, he compiled an 86-62 (.581) record and led the squad to three postseason appearances.? Oˇ?Neill was named Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in both 1993 and 1994, and Marquette led the nation in field goal percentage defense in those seasons as well.? The ˇ?93 team won 20 games for the first time in eight seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.? The ˇ?94 club went 24-9, won the Great Midwest Conference regular season championship and made a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, advancing to the Southeast Regional semifinal.


From 1994-97, he was the head coach at the University of Tennessee.? Inheriting a team that had won just five games the year before, Oˇ?Neill had the Volunteers playing in the National Invitation Tournament in two years (1996).? He posted a 36-47 (.434) record in Knoxville.


Oˇ?Neill moved onto Northwestern University, where he guided the Wildcats from 1997-2000.? He tallied a 30-56 (.349) record with NU, guiding the 1998-99 squad to a 15-14 record and an NIT appearance.? It was just the third postseason appearance in school history for Northwestern and the programˇ?s third winning season in the previous 29 years.


From there, Oˇ?Neill jumped to the NBA, where he served as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks in 2000-01 and the Detroit Pistons in 2002 and 2003 before becoming the head coach in Toronto in 2004.? The Raptors went 33-49 (.402) in Oˇ?Neillˇ?s one season, finishing sixth in the Eastern Conferenceˇ?s Central Division.


?ˇ?Kevin is a great coach and an exceptional recruiter,ˇ± said Olson.? ˇ?He understands my coaching style and the expectations of this program.? We are thrilled to have him back in Tucson.ˇ±


Born Jan. 24, 1957, Oˇ?Neill earned his B.S. in education from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) in 1979.? He was a three-year letterman for the Redmen from 1975-78 and helped McGill total a 52-35 (.598) record in that span.? His 1977-78 club posted a school-record 28 wins and advanced to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship tournament.


Oˇ?Neill earned a masterˇ?s degree in secondary education from Marycrest College in 1983.? He is married to the former Roberta Elder.? Oˇ?Neill has one son, Sean (20).


The Kevin O'Neill Chronology


Born: ? Jan. 24, 1957, in Malone, N.Y.

Hometown: ? Chateaugay, N.Y.



B.S. in Education, McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1979

Masterˇ?s in Secondary Education, Marycrest College (Davenport, Iowa), 1983


Playing Experience

Three-year letterman at McGill University, 1975-78

Led Redmen to a 52-35 (.598) record in those three seasons, including a school-record 28-5 mark in 1977-78.? That season McGill also advanced to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship tournament.


Coaching Experience

1979-80 Head Coach, Hammond High School, Hammond, N.Y.

1979-80:? 15-6 (.714)


1980-82 Head Coach, North County Community College, Saranac, N.Y.

1980-81:? 5-13 (.278), first year of program

1981-82:? record unavailable, Team qualified for Region III junior college playoffs


1982-83 Head Coach, Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa

1982-83:? 17-14 (.548)


1983-85 Assistant Coach, University of Delaware, Newark, Del.

1983-84:? 11-16 (.407)

1984-85:? 12-16 (.429)


1985-86 Assistant Coach, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.

1985-86:? 23-9 (.719), Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Champions, NCAA Tournament


1986-89 Assistant Coach, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

1986-87:? 18-12 (.600), NCAA Tournament

1987-88:? 35-3 (.921), Pac-10 Regular Season and Tournament Champions, NCAA Final Four

1988-89:? 29-4 (.879), Pac-10 Regular Season and Tournament Champions, NCAA Tournament


1989-94 Head Coach, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.

1989-90:? 15-14 (.517), National Invitation Tournament

1990-91:? 11-18 (.379)

1991-92:? 16-13 (.655)

1992-93:? 20-8 (.714), NCAA Tournament

1993-94:? 24-9 (.727), Great Midwest Conference Champions, NCAA Tournament

Five-Year Totals:? 86-62 (.581)


1994-97 Head Coach, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.

1994-95:? 11-16 (.407)

1995-96:? 14-15 (.483), National Invitation Tournament

1996-97:? 11-16 (.407)

?Three-Year Totals:? 36-47 (.434)


1997-2000 Head Coach, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

1997-98:? 10-17 (.370)

1998-99:? 15-14 (.517), National Invitation Tournament

1999-2000:? 5-25 (.167)

Three-Year Totals:? 30-56 (.349)


2000-01 Assistant Coach, New York Knicks (NBA), New York, N.Y.

2000-01:? 48-34 (.585), Third Place, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference


2001-03 Assistant Coach, Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit, Mich.

2001-02:? 50-32 (.610), First Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

2002-03:? 50-32 (.610), First Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference


2003-04 Head Coach, Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2003-04:? 33-49 (.402), Sixth Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

?One-Year Total:? 33-49 (.402)


2004-06 Assistant Coach, Indiana Pacers (NBA), Indianapolis, Ind.

2004-05:? 44-38 (.537), Third Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference

2005-06:? 41-41 (.500), Fourth Place, Central Division, Eastern Conference


Coaching Honors

1993 Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year

1994 Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year


Career Head Coaching Record

Level Years Record Pct

High School 1 15-6.714

Junior College *2 5-13.278

NAIA 1 17-14.548

NCAA Division I 11 152-165.479

NBA 1 33-49.402

Totals 16 222-247.473

27-Year Coaching Career 583-484.546


* record unavailable for 1981-82 season

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