He's on fire

As a longtime reader of The Times, I usually enjoy reading Bill Plaschke. This morning's column about new USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill had me halfway between laughing and wondering if Plaschke has been smoking something.

Let me get this straight: O'Neill is the "perfect hire" because he is willing to run into a burning building? I mean, if you're saving a child, fine, but the Trojans' athletic program, in its current incarnation, is more like an unapologetic arsonist who refuses to leave the house he has just torched.

Plaschke really went too far, though, when he called O'Neill "Ben Howland with a sharper edge, Bob Knight without the chair." This is a guy who has a losing record everywhere he has coached. Howland and Knight should never speak to Plaschke again.

It seems to me that calling O'Neill the perfect hire is a bit like a drowning man saying he chose the perfect guy to throw him a life preserver . . . in other words, the only one willing to do so at the time. For O'Neill's sake, I hope the Trojans don't drag him down to the bottom with them.

Gary L. Platt

West Covina

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