Blog Entry

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 3:38 pm

Posted by Matt Jones

December was not a good month for Bruce Pearl .  It is bad enough that the Tennessee coach had a losing record for the month, with four losses against the decidedly mediocre quartet or Charlotte, Oakland, USC and College of Charleston, planting the Vols decidedly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.  But then Pearl found himself the recipient of another round of “How is Bruce Pearl the coach at Tennessee?” questions following his embarrassing interview with Seth Davis on CBS.  What was once a possible season of redemption has now become simply a season of survival, as the wheels have completely blown apart the Tennessee locomotive.

January doesn’t look to be much better.  With an eight-game SEC suspension beginning on Saturday, Bruce Pearl will coach only two games for Tennessee in the month, both of which now look like must-wins for his Tournament future.  The Vols play Memphis in Knoxville on Wednesday and then make the rare trip to Storrs, Connecticut to meet Jim Calhoun and UCONN on the January 22.  Both games give Pearl’s squad a chance to get what the SEC will provide few opportunities to obtain, a resume-building win.  With Tennessee’s conference down to two ranked teams, winning at least one of the two non-conference battles is imperative and taking both may be required to go dancing this March.

And for Pearl, the NCAA Tournament may now represent much more than simply a season’s goal, it could be the difference between the continuation of his career and a move away from the major conference spotlight.  Since the revelation that Pearl lied to the NCAA, the coach has had his Tennessee contract voided and he is now working on an “at-will” basis.  The University is clearly waiting to see what sanctions will be handed down by the NCAA and whether they will inhibit Pearl’s ability to lead the Vols into the future.  For a basketball program that was on the verge of a Final Four last year and hasn’t seen consistent success since the “Ernie and Bernie” show in the 1970s, letting go of a winning coach would be difficult.  But if that same coach has watched while his team has imploded and found himself out of the NCAA Tournament in a year where the SEC is at its lowest point in over a decade…well that is a different story.

It is bizarre to imagine that in today’s NCAA world where Dez Bryant told a fib about knowing Deion Sanders and found himself out of a collegiate career, Bruce Pearl could still have a job.  But as of now, he does.  While one might argue that Pearl’s actions in the past should determine his future with the school, at this point he seems to have survived part of the storm from the NCAA sanctions.  However, with the dual realities of the acknowledged difficulty in firing a winning Coach and Pearl’s collapsing team’s next ten games featuring eight conference games from which he is suspended, one against a top ten team and the other against the school’s most heated rival, his future is far from secure.  For eighty percent of the Vols' January schedule, Pearl will not be on the sidelines and have virtually no control over the contest's outcomes.  But due to the precarious situation Pearl finds himself in, the way his team plays will not only decide whether the Vols will make the NCAA Tournament in March, it may go a long way in determining whether he will still be there this time next season.

Photo: AP

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2011 11:15 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

Don't you know the NCAA is only worried about $$$$...they really don't care about lying .

Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2011 10:05 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

This is why the NCAA has absolutely zero credibility.  Dez Bryant is suspended for the SEASON, effectively ending his career at Oklahoma State, for not being truthful to the NCAA.  All Bruce Pearl gets, after both cheating and lying, is 10 games?  Until the NCAA starts sitting these coaches for 1 to 2 years for cheating, the cheating will never stop -- and the hypocrisy of the NCAA on this issue, as well as the Ohio State and Cam Newton issues is unbelievable.  Pearl then lying about it should earn him a trip to the unemployment line.

The comment that penalizing Pearl to a greater extent hurts the school and players more than the coach is ludicrous.  What about coaches that have (some repeatedly) been involved in having their schools go on probation, only to move on to greener pastures while the schools and players left behind are put on probation, not able to play in postseason, have scholarships taken away, etc.?

Have to believe the thought that the NCAA is not about enforcement of rules, but rather protecting their bottom line.  

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:03 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

A ten game suspension, in my mind, is more than enough to show an indication that the University of Tennessee is serious about disciplining Bruce Pearl.  I agree and understand that Coach Pearl's actions were flagrant and intentional but to terminate his employment with the program will prove to be more detrimental to the program than to Bruce Pearl.  True enough he may have to take a couple of years off from coach before returning, but indeed he will return, somewhere, at some school who's program has fallen off, of which he will want to prove his mettle and revive that school's program. He will be even better and will serve as an example of "take your whippin' like a man" and in time, you will be rewarded.

That being said, why should Tennessee lose out on someone who is at the cruxt of having its school's basketball program be one of the premier college programs in the country? It doesn't and won't make sense to shoot yourself in the foot like that. It just doesn't make sense. Case in point, look at Cincinnatti. Since Bob Huggins left the program, it just hasn't been the same but look at West Virginia!  Anyway, Tennessee, don't be stupid.  Punish the Coach but keep your Coach because you may not find another one like him for a long time!!

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 8:35 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future.

It really makes one wonder, when the coach's get away with all that they do....are they really setting a good example for there players?? NO, but the players usually pay the price, and the coaches get to keep there jobs....that's the NCAA's double standard.....WHO polices the NCAA's??

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:48 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:18 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

So, do you prefer your hypocrites to have integrity or your liars to be honest?
Bruce Pearl admitted he lied, so that's not news. Most people lie at some time in their lives, but few admit to it. I can't think of a single coach other than Pearl who has fessed up to his mistakes. So, the man's got integrity. But, he hasn't done anything hypocritical.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:11 am

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

Typical of Matt Jones. He's got nothing new to add, so he takes the easy route of jumping on the bash Tennessee/Bruce Pearl bandwagon. Head back to journalism school, Matt, and learn to write something original for a change. Go Vols! In Bruce We Trust!

Since: Mar 26, 2010
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:04 pm

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

LOL!!! Of course a homer Vol fan would say that! Matt is the man and he speaks the truth! It just makes it even more fun to watch you losers go down!

Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:42 pm

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

Matt I am a frequent caller on your radio show, and have read KYSPORTSRADIO website for years. But you need to pick up your game on the national circuit. So far all of your post are attacking someone or something. How about a more professional approach with analysis  and reports, and less Ad Hominem attacks. We still like you Matt, but your better than this.

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:23 pm

Ten games go a long way for Bruce Pearl's future

Thank god for this post, I had almost forgotten how much of a UK homer (and an idiot) Matt Jones was.

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