Jan 14, 2013 4:08 PM by Andrew Masuda

Paso native Bob Cantu named interim head coach at USC

Paso Robles native Bob Cantu was named the interim head men's basketball coach at USC on Monday morning.

The Trojans fired head coach Kevin O'Neill in the middle of his fourth year at USC. He posted a 48-65 overall record, including 7-10 this season after going 6-26 in 2012. USC is off to a 2-2 start in Pac-12 play after splitting a road series over the weekend. USC has lost 9 of its last 13 games, which included a 5-game losing skid.

Cantu is in his 12th season with the Trojans and 17th at the collegiate level. He was promoted to associated head coach in April 2010 by O'Neill. He has served under four head coaches with the Trojans.

In 2011, he was thrust into the head coach's role hours before USC's Pac-10 Tournament semifinal against Arizona. The Trojans lost that game 67-62.

The Paso Robles High graduate served as a basketball administrative assistant at Cal Poly from 1996-1997 and was an assistant coach at Cuesta College from 1997-1999. Prior to that he spent three seasons as head junior varsity and varsity assistant coach at Mission Prep.

"When you first coach as a freshman coach at Mission Prep you probably dream about being a head Division I coach at a high, major level, but never do you know if you really have a chance to do it. So I'm excited, a little nervous, but looking forward to it and definitely optimistic," said Cantu during a phone interview Monday with KSBY Sports. He is excited for the opporunity to show what he can offer in the final fifteen games of the regular season.

Cantu planned to address his team in the afternoon and ask them to play with extreme passion and energy the rest of the season. His first game in his new role in Thursday against Oregon.



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