Bruce Pearl: The Status of Rocky Top from a Current Student
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If you have found yourself on my Bleacher Report profile page (most likely by accident at this stage), you would see a number of facts about me. I like the Atlanta Braves. David Price is a friend from my hometown. I prefer Unitas over Montana and so on and so forth.
You will also see that I am a senior at the University of Tennessee, the former employer of basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
I wanted to report to everyone, especially my fellow Volunteers, the atmosphere on Rocky Top through my own eyes, reddened with the blooms of the Bradford Pears that line the Pedestrian Walkway.
From my swivel chair that I am currently typing in, I can see the UT Law School, a beautiful building. I can see the top of the cathedral that is Neyland Stadium. I can also see a campus of students who are indifferent to the firing.
Bruce Pearl, the best coach in school history, is gone, and the campus is more concerned with the prospects of Pat Summitt's Lady Vols and the first days of spring practice for the football team than the future of men's basketball.
Don't get me wrong, we realize the gravity of this situation. The front page of our school newspaper, The Daily Beacon, reads "Pearl Out at UT" and is accompanied with a solemn photograph of Bruce's "apology" from September. It's just that we understand who we are.
Do you agree with the firing of Bruce Pearl?
We are Tennessee. Our university is two years older than the state itself. We are an SEC school and are definitely not Kentucky (thank goodness) and therefore do not prioritize men's basketball.
I and many others thought the unconditional popularity of men's basketball was turning the corner on The Hill.
What has been made clear to me is that six years of excitement doesn't equate to more than 70 years of championship football or decades as the most respected women's basketball program in the country.
I hope that we hire a great, young coach, teeming with potential. I hope we find a guy who has a chip on his shoulder and wants to prove himself for years to come in Thompson-Boling Arena. Quite frankly, I hope we get the basketball version of Derek Dooley.
Even with the firing of the school's best coach, the question on campus is no different than any other year after basketball: When does football start?
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