Bruce Pearl Fired: Has Tennessee Parted Ways with Bruce Pearl?
Sources are reporting that the University of Tennessee has decided to part ways with men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl. An official announcement is expected to come within the next 24 hours.
This comes as no great surprise. Following recruiting violations that Pearl knowingly committed, the coach then went on to lie to the Volunteers about his actions. After the school acknowledged the recruiting violations, Pearl simply said that he didn't "tell the truth the first time" NCAA investigators asked him about a violation, and he declined to be more specific.
The school was charged with seven rules violations and the program could take a severe hit over the next few seasons. Pearl was charged with unethical conduct and then suspended for the first eight conference games in the SEC this season.
Before the Vols were to enter the 2011 NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed and prepare to take on No. 8 seed Michigan, the school's athletic director Mike Hamilton said that the coach's status was unclear.
The fact that Tennessee lost to Michigan by 30 points even though the Wolverines failed to convert even one free throw probably made the decision much easier.
Once again, nothing has been officially confirmed, but Gary Parrish of CBS Sports has reported, "A search for his replacement has already begun."
It is also being reported that Pearl met with Hamilton and was possibly informed of this decision. Since he has been working without a contract, it would be easy to remove Pearl, although he will still probably receive some sort of compensation as part of a potential buyout.
If Pearl is indeed out, Tennessee is undoubtedly hoping that the NCAA will not hand down a more harsh penalty against its program. The Pearl suspension was imposed by the school, and not the NCAA sanctions committee.
For a look back on Pearl and his accmplishments prior to today's news, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Tennessee Featured Columnist Mark Hancock, who takes a look at the question of Will Tennessee Fire Bruce Pearl, Their Best Men's Basketball Coach in Decades?
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