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Bruce Pearl and the 20 Skeeviest Coaches Ever

Brad GoldbachCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2010

Bruce Pearl and the 20 Skeeviest Coaches Ever

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    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    Bruce Pearl's scandal at Tennessee was an eye-opener, but he is certainly not alone in a sports world full of coaches who do some really questionable things.

    Especially in the case of college coaches, these guys are supposed to be the ones who lead young men, teach them how to play a sport and how to be good citizens.

    How are we to expect these players to behave when the ones roaming the sidelines are just as, if not more, skeevy than the players themselves.

    If you have ever seen one of these 20 guys roaming your team's (or rival team's) sidelines, then you know what I'm talking about.

Honorable Mention--High School Coaches

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    High school coaches outnumber college and professional coaches by the boatload, so there are probably plenty of skeevy old guys roaming the sidelines, and they don't get much publicity, so it is much easier for them to go about their business without media attention.

    But, that doesn't mean they aren't out there.

    Nick Maronto, pictured, of Mainland High in Daytona Beach, Fla., was recently arrested for soliciting a prostitute. The worst part is that the school is now letting him back to coach (this week, actually) for the team's big game against Port St. Lucie. Talk about some sketchy business.

    Just last week, Todd Pooch, a high school coach in Norwalk, Ohio, was also arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

    That's just the news in the past week. Imagine what is happening on your high school's sidelines as we speak.

20. Rube McCray

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    It would probably be hard to pinpoint where exactly today's sketchy college coaches, illegal recruiting, and cheating began, but Rube McCray would be a good place to start.

    McCray coached William and Mary from 1944-50 and helped turn the football program into a powerhouse, almost miraculously, considering the school had fewer than 1,000 males at the time.

    The pressure to get to that point led to McCray getting a salary more than anyone else at the school (sounds familiar) and the majority of the scholarships went to athletes (hmm).

    McCray and staff decided that they had to alter athletes' high school transcripts to get them into school and on the team. Then, they gave credit to athletes for attending classes that they did not attend.

    The team was in the top 20 during this time and beat teams like Oklahoma, in Norman, and third-ranked UNC.

    Of course, everyone seems to have denied any involvement or knowledge in the case. McCray resigned a few days after the scandal was brought to light in 1951.

19. Bobby Gonzalez

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    Word on the street is college coaches make a decent amount of money, especially in the Big East, where Gonzalez coached Seton Hall.

    So, someone tell me why Gonzalez would have any reason to shoplift?

    The crime occurred after he was fired from Seton Hall for his antics on and off the court, so maybe the guy just had a few screws loose.

    The stolen item in question? A $1,400 satchel from Polo Ralph Lauren.

    Bet no one would notice that one missing.

18. Gary Moeller

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    The coach at Michigan for five years, Moeller left in a drunken rage.

    He was fired when tapes of him drunkenly accosting waiters at a restaurant were released. Imagine the kind of pub this would get involving a Michigan coach and YouTube these days.

    Maybe the former Ohio State linebacker just couldn't take it anymore.

17. Ron Washington

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Cocaine is a hell of a drug. Just ask Ron Washington.

    Guess he didn't think all those steroids would lead to coaches getting tested too. It would be ironic if he spoiled the party for everyone else.

    Drugs aside, the Rangers stuck to their man, and he has them bound for the playoffs. Must be the magic powder.

16. Bobby Petrino

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Petrino is credited as an offensive genius and helped the Louisville Cardinals rise to prominence while he was there.

    As you know, he wasn't there for very long.

    Slippery, snaky, whatever you want to call it. That is Petrino in a nutshell.

    He left for the Atlanta Falcons and stated his intentions of building the team into the next season and beyond. Then, you guessed it, he was gone...with three games left on the schedule in season one.

    Talk about low.

    Petrino has Arkansas and Ryan Mallett looking good this season. But will he still be there when Mallett goes pro?

15. Pete Carroll

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Even slimier than Petrino is Pete Carroll. 

    Sure, the guy comes off as cool, even with his gray hair. He was the director of the Hollywood Trojans during their big run this past decade.

    It was a shocker when he left for the Seahawks after last season.

    But then it all became very clear. Carroll left a mess behind him at USC and decided he should jump ship before the walls came crashing down.

    Now, that's messed up.

14. Kelvin Sampson

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    Sampson was one of college basketball's "darlings," as they call them. I guess that just means it's only a matter of time until the dirt is uncovered.

    Sampson brought Oklahoma to the top and then jumped to the basketball pastures of Indiana. 

    Unfortunately, he didn't tell the Hoosiers that jump was off a cliff and he was taking the program down with him.

    It turned out that Sampson was involved in a lot of illegal recruiting over the years.

    Luckily for him he got back on his feet, this time in a more fitting arena: where the players are allowed to get paid.

13. Clem Haskins

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    Minnesota was a solid program under Haskins' watch, and he even led the program to a Final Four in 1997.

    The catch was that the "solid" part only applied to the product on the court.

    Behind the curtain, Haskins had quite the academic fraud scandal keeping his program afloat.

    An academic counselor had written over 400 papers for 18 players from 1994 to 1998. If you think about those numbers, it probably works out to every single assignment those players ever had.

    It was later revealed that Haskins paid the counselor $3,000 to write the papers.

12. Jim Leavitt

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    The old-schoolers will tell you that discipline means a good beating or two. At least, that's what they tell me.

    But this is the new school. The school where you get a lawsuit thrown at you for spilling coffee the wrong way. So, surely you are going to get fired for grabbing a player by the throat and hitting him twice.

    As the face of a college's football program, you have to know better than that. Even if you do something like that behind closed doors, the world will find out before you walk out the other side.

    If you have to beat players to get them to play well for you these days, then you aren't doing something right. Or, your head isn't screwed on right. Leavitt falls somewhere in between.

11. Mike Leach

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    Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

    If Leavitt falls somewhere in the middle of that scale, we know Leach falls off the deep end.

    We already knew Leach was a little bit off, but maybe that was what made him such a "mad scientist."

    But something is wrong with a guy who locks a kid in a room and tells him he will be kicked off the team if he disobeys. Considering that Adam James had suffered a concussion a few days earlier, Leach was/is probably off his rocker.

    As stated about Leavitt, if you think you are going to get away with something like that today, you are an idiot. If the kid's dad is Craig James, well I hope you already had your bags packed.

    Apparently, Leach is now foraying into broadcasting and will be calling the SMU-Washington State game this weekend. That should be interesting.

10. Mike Price

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    Price landed one of the prize jobs in college football when he was hired as Alabama's coach.

    Sometime shortly after, he celebrated by going to Pensacola, Fla., for a celebrity golf trip. Except it wasn't any old golf trip. This one involved strippers and lots of booze. He also allegedly had sex with one of the strippers.

    Quite the foray for Alabama's one-time spring practice coach.

    These days, he's left to holding the pickax for the UTEP Miners. Judging by their success, Alabama dodged a bullet.

9. Bruce Pearl

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The namesake of this slideshow barely cracks the top 10, but don't be fooled, Pearl is one skeevy dude.

    This is a guy who once recorded a conversation he had with a recruit who did not choose his school and sent it to the NCAA.

    What a standup guy. Too bad honesty doesn't work both ways. Not only did Pearl illegally host recruits at his house, he felt he had to lie about it. Who would have guessed that someone would take pictures of those illegal visits.

    Karma is a b.

    Not to mention, Pearl allegedly divorced his wife once he became too much of a superstar for her at Tennessee.

8. Rick Pitino

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    College coaches have become known for their under-the-table dealings these days, but Pitino has mastered the art of another kind of under-the-table exchange.

    It was recently revealed that he had sex with the wife of the team's trainer under the table at a restaurant. This information was revealed in an extortion case in which the woman in question claimed Pitino raped her, paid to have her get an abortion, and paid her to marry her husband. Amid the smoke, it was revealed Pitino paid her $3,000 for an unidentified medical charge.

    He then called a press conference against the wishes of the school and the police, telling the media to stop "reporting these lies." Sounds like something a skeevy guy would say.

7. Bobby Collins

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    Collins was the coach at the head of the SMU program when it was handed the death penalty.

    If the infractions could be directly tied to Collins, he would be higher on this list, but this is here for an entire program's sketchy behavior.

    SMU became a strong program in the '80s on the back of its slush fund, which was used to pay players to come to SMU and pay them monthly, in some cases. Even after SMU was hit with penalties, the school continued to pay players. The investigation revealed that $61,000 was handed out to 13 players over two years, and this was just after a probation was handed down.

6. Gary Barnett

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    Barnett turned Colorado into a successful program in his time there, but he took a different approach than some of the others on this list.

    Instead of money, Colorado allegedly enticed recruits with sex and alcohol during Barnett's tenure. 

    Doesn't seem like the first place you would find a female placekicker. Fuel was added to the fire when kicker Katie Hnida came forward saying she was raped by a teammate.

    Things didn't seem as if they could get any worse, until Barnett was asked about the Hnida allegations, to which he responded:

    "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."

    Class act. I wonder how much respect Barnett got for that one.

5. George O'Leary

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    O'Leary found himself in similar shoes as Mike Price when he landed one of college football's dream jobs, but he didn't even make it to the partying stage.

    Turned out O'Leary lied on his resume, which is one of the dumbest things you can do in such a public profession.

    At UCF, O'Leary was involved in a much worse controversy when Ereck Plancher died on the practice field.

    Players came forward against O'Leary, saying that he continued to verbally abuse and harass Plancher, even though it was obvious he was showing signs of not being able to continue. Players revealed that the drills coaches put Plancher through were much worse than the coaches admitted. When Plancher was starting to collapse, O'Leary warned players against helping him. The coaches knew that Plancher was susceptible to problems during high-intensity workouts because he had sickle-cell anemia.

4. Dana Kirk

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    The former coach of Memphis State led the Tigers to the Final Four in 1985.

    Not long after, Kirk was forced out. He only graduated six players in seven years.

    But that only scratched the surface. Kirk was charged with several felonies, including tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. He scalped tickets for five times their face value, paid players and solicited kickbacks from tournament promoters.

    Kirk responded to any questions about those years by saying, "I don't do negativity."

3. John Calipari

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Calipari is widely regarded as one of the slimiest coaches around.

    He is rumored to be connected to World Wide Wes, the ultimate connection in the basketball world. Rumor has it that Wes directed many top recruits to Calipari's program over the years.

    Calipari has taken two programs to great heights, before walking away from infractions. UMass's Final Four was vacated when it was revealed that Marcus Camby accepted money from agents. Memphis's championship game appearance was vacated when it was revealed that Derrick Rose had someone take his SAT for him.

    Somehow, Calipari is still alive and breathing in the college basketball world, and at powerhouse Kentucky to boot. That doesn't mean he is clean, though. It just might mean he is that much sleazier.

2. Jerry Tarkanian

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    Tark the Shark one-upped Calipari in bringing scandal to three programs during his heyday. He also one-upped him by bringing home a national title, but something tells me he didn't do it the clean way.

    Unfortunately for Tarkanian, he was unable to sneak past the NCAA's radar, as he left three programs under probation.

    That towel also doesn't help his cause.

    Tarkanian is generally Exhibit A in sleazy recruiting.

1. Dave Bliss

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    Bliss is an entirely different animal. Sex scandals, tax evasion and illegally paying players are one thing.

    But Bliss went above and beyond that.

    Under his watch at Baylor, Patrick Dennehy was murdered by former player Carlton Dotson.

    Bliss tried to make Dennehy out to be a drug dealer to cover his own tail. It turned out that Bliss paid $7,000 in tuition payments not covered by financial aid for Dennehy.

    Bliss threatened to fire one of his assistants if he didn't go along with it. His assistant recorded the conversation and it was later released by his attorneys.

    The NCAA handed down a 10-year ban on Bliss.

    You can't get much skeevier than that.

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