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Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on Bruce Pearl

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In six years at Tenenssee, Bruce Pearl has turned a moribund program into a nationally relevant one. He did it through coaching, recruiting and often just the force of his outgoing personality.

But it all may have ended in stunningly bad fashion on Thursday. The Vols “quit” in the second half of a 30-point loss to Michigan, according to one player. And the postgame press conference was dominated by talk of Pearl’s future.

But Pearl did not show signs he would go quietly.

“We made mistakes,” Pearl said after his team fell 75-45. “We’re going to try to be accountable for those mistakes, but my goal and desire is to be the basketball coach at Tennessee next year and for a long time.”

It won’t be up to Pearl. Tennessee is due to go before the NCAA’s infractions committee in June, then have punishment doled out for a serious of offenses by Pearl, including lying to the NCAA.

Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton gave a radio interview Wednesday on the eve of the tournament where he declined to say Pearl would be back. That caused major waves, and Vols senior guard Melvin Goins said “of course it was a distraction.”

Pearl disagreed, saying the team’s abysmal second half – it was outscored 42-16 – was not a result of Hamilton’s comments. Vols freshman Tobias Harris was the player who said the team “basically just quit” in the second half.

But Pearl sounded like someone who was going to fight for his job. He pointed out that the team has gone to the NCAA tournament in all of his six seasons, including an Elite Eight appearance last year. He also cited the pending graduation of six players, and the improved attendance at home games.

“Certainly when your coaching staff and the kids find out that .. there’s some chance that you might not be back, when you hear that for the first time, it gets you,” Pearl said. “And I know it’s on Mike’s heart too. I know he’s apologized for saying that. But I don’t put the loss on that.”

The fact that Hamilton did back off the comments - at least behind the scenes - shows that the door isn't closed on Pearl returning. But it does appear to be shutting.


Long Duck Dawg said...

He was a Pearl of great price, no?

Anonymous said...

In response to that Vol tweeting about Evans, did he forget which AD gave the keys of the program to Kiffin?

(no, I still don't use twitter)

Andy said...

The Bruce is loose.

MURDEROUS RAGE: Due to NCAA regulations is unable to stream the audio for NCAA Tournament games.


BulldogBen said...

Bottom line, UT was willing to get in bed with some shady coaches and throw their reputation out the window for wins. They get what they get.

How Mike Hamilton still has a job is beyond me.