UT renegotiates 6-year deal with Pearl; Memphis could have offered $3.25M per season

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl will remain with the Vols after renegotiating a new six-year contract Thursday night.

“I want to be able to say, unequivocally, that leaving was not an option,’’ Pearl told the News Sentinel. “Where there was smoke, there was fire.’’

There were numerous reports Thursday that Memphis was in the process of making a run at Pearl for its coaching vacancy. A source close to the UT program said there were indications the Tigers might be willing to pay Pearl up to $3.25 million annually.

Pearl was in Detroit Thursday where he presented Louisville coach Rick Pitino with the Adolph Rupp national Coach of the Year award — an award Pearl won last season.

FedEx vice president Alan Graf, a mega-booster who’s leading the search at Memphis, was also in Detroit and there was speculation Pearl was among the coaches he would approach. Pearl did not want to comment on any possible overtures from Memphis.

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton repeated Thursday that Memphis had not contacted UT asking for permission to talk with Pearl.

“I would deny them permission, but I don’t necessarily think that means they’re going to ask,” said Hamilton. “The reality is that’s kind of an archaic way of dealing with these changes in the last few years.’’

There are no stipulations in Pearl’s contract that would have enabled Hamilton to deny Memphis access to talk with Pearl.

Pearl, who has led the Vols to four NCAA appearances and posted the best record in the SEC in his four years with the program, sounded relieved to have a new contract in place.

“I’m glad it’s done, and so is my staff and my players,’’ Pearl said. “I’m sorry that it was a distracting day at home.’’

UT issued a release at 8 p.m. that it has reached an agreement in principle and details of the contract will be disclosed in the coming days.

Pearl has said in past negotiations with UT that he’s comfortable being the third-highest paid coach in the SEC. For Pearl to hold that spot securely, the new contract would call for him to make at least $2 million annually.

New Kentucky coach John Calipari, who was hired away this week from Memphis, has a contract worth $3.7 annually while Florida’s Billy Donovan makes $3.5 million. Alabama hired Anthony Grant last week for a reported $2 million a year, and Georgia has shown signs it is willing to offer in the $2 million range to fill its coaching vacancy.

Pearl was due to make $1.7 million for the 2009-10 season plus a $500,000 retention bonus. But the following season, Pearl’s contract called for him to dip back down to $1.8 million.

Pearl’s contract contained an escalator clause that called for an annual raise of $100,000 through the 2013-14 season with another $500,000 retention bonus due him in 2013.

“Mike (Hamilton) has been terrifically supportive and committed to making this one of the best jobs in college basketball,’’ Pearl said in the UT release. “I want to ensure the University of Tennessee and its fans that I’m 100-percent committed to this school, this program and our student-athletes.

“I truly love my job, and I want it to be clear that I’m not interested in any other job,’’ Pearl said. “There’s no place in the country I’d rather be than the University of Tennessee.

“My children are happy here in the Knoxville community. One is in high school, one is in middle school and two are currently attending the university.’’

Hamilton also released a statement.

“The job Bruce Pearl has done as basketball coach at the University of Tennessee is nothing short of phenomenal,’’ he said. “Bruce gets it. The way he mentors and coaches our student athletes, promotes the program and represents our institution — coupled with the success he and the team have had on the court — has set a new standard for Tennessee basketball.

“We are committed to helping him and his staff to achieve even greater heights in the years ahead.’’

Former UT fan-favorite Dane Bradshaw, who played under Pearl, said he’s as relieved as anyone a deal was worked out.

“I was getting nervous just like everyone else,’’ Bradshaw said. “He’s absolutely deserving; having witnessed the pressures that goes into being a head coach at this level, he’s as deserving as anyone in the country.’’

Bradshaw, a Memphis native, said the thought of Pearl with the Tigers made him a little uncomfortable.

“I love to see Bruce in orange, but he’s one of my best friends in the world and I’d have supported him anywhere he went,’’ Bradshaw said. “But I would have stayed true to the orange if there was a head-to-head match up, and I would have let him know that.’’

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Comments » 199

ncvol17 writes:

100% committed to a new higher salary.. but darn that is sports in the 21st century.. better to keep him than search for a new coach

UTandETSUfan writes:

Atta boy Bruce!!

ALock4UT writes:

Great news!! Bruce is the man and he gave our basketball program a name for the first time in years.

LEXKYVOLS writes:

Okay, now let's go kick some Cal-Zone Butt!!

Brentwoodvol writes:

Heck ya this is what I've been waiting for all day. Sorry tiger high. BP you da man!!!!!!!!!!!

golfballs03 writes:

We need Bruce.

Wauconda_Vol writes:

That took long enough! Finally...

MemphisVol writes:

who ya got now memphis?

pms151 writes:

It's all about the money. Nothing more.

ZWVol11 writes:

Well Tiger High's search is still on haha. Maybe they should ask White Station's Coach he did win a state title that's about the equivalent of a con-usa title

born2ride writes:

So we give pay raises for losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament now?

lomas98 writes:

Awesome. Looks like Hamilton is really serious about the basketball program. I think Pearl will leave one day for a Calipari like offer, but this is not the time. He deserves the pay whatever it is. My guess is 2.75 to 3.0 a year.

memphis_vol_fan writes:

in response to ncvol17:

100% committed to a new higher salary.. but darn that is sports in the 21st century.. better to keep him than search for a new coach

Sad but true. Coaches like Bowden, Paterno, Coach K, and even Fulmer are a dying breed.
But hey, I'm glad CBP is staying.

orangegrass writes:

Now lets win with style points and hard work. I am sick of listening to these UK fans already talking trash. Heck, they were on the radio all day and night yesterday talking about how they were going to return to dominance in the SEC and the NCAA.

nmbr1vol writes:

looks like tiger high will continue to lick their wounds.

i just don't understand the fained hurt, anguish and surprise. what did they expect when they made the deal with the devil(calipari) in the first place.

in all likelyhood, the ncaa will arrive in memphis just a few minutes after it's wheels up for kentucky. ...they always seem to be just a few steps behind the devils departures.

walt23tn writes:

YESSSS!!!

MudDogMark writes:

Congratulations Coach. Hopefully this Congress and President will not try to take this away. Go Vols!!

ZWVol11 writes:

I'm glad this got done because this keeps us from having a scare for the rest of the off season. I believe Arizona would have come calling next

AFTiger writes:

in response to ZWVol11:

Well Tiger High's search is still on haha. Maybe they should ask White Station's Coach he did win a state title that's about the equivalent of a con-usa title

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

utkalumn writes:

HELL YES.... EAT IT MEMPHIS!!

lshults_hpetro#247761 writes:

IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL!!!

UTandETSUfan writes:

in response to AFTiger:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Aww! Look at the poor jilted lover!

lshults_hpetro#247761 writes:

Is it too late to get Tony Jones to stay?

LEXKYVOLS writes:

in response to born2ride:

So we give pay raises for losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament now?

No, we give raises when our AD knows the program is headed in the right direction. NCAA the past 4 years, 2 Sweet Sixteen, SEC Champions, SEC tournament final, finish ahead of the kitty cats the past 4 years. . .

We are headed in the right direction. A football school like Florida did it - why not us?

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

well, I feel better.

Thanks Bruce!

Go Vols!!!

DCVolFan (Inactive) writes:

Nothing makes me happier than when Memphis is tee'd off. Hehehehe! SUCKERS! The Comical Repeal can't even bring themselves to report it...

nudomucho writes:

in response to AFTiger:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well, i was born and raised in memphis...i would rather be at the hillbilly institute rather than the "institute at 201 poplar"

peace

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to pms151:

It's all about the money. Nothing more.

Ya..it's the way of the world..

AFTiger writes:

in response to UTandETSUfan:

Aww! Look at the poor jilted lover!

Stay tuned huckster...

Inquisitor writes:

FAN Tastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tree_em_smokey writes:

This isn't about bruce pearl but is about bb. Who else thinks that teams should have a red flag like they do in college fb. I've seen many games come down to the last second and a bogus call pretty much decide the game. Gimme some feed back (no mempiss fans please) as this is a vols site! GO VOLS!

scottmichaelmoore#540590 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dvols writes:

this is the day and time of grandstanding... kiffin does it, cal did it the other day, bruce could have said no along time ago but didn't, put tn in the media for a day.. whatever it takes guys.. keep up the good work!

rocky top you will always be....

hilltopper writes:

lets hope Memphis goes higher and UK goes on probation for years to come If I didnt despise UK in the past I sure do now Two years ago they were to high and almighty for Calipari now they dont care how crooked he is as long as he wins and stays sober more that the jerk they just fired

fatheadvol writes:

love witch doctors wisdom

suPEARLman writes:

Man my heart dropped when I saw the red highlighted BREAKING NEWS.....

Then I read it.....

wheww. Thank god. Now lets finally get past the F'in Sweet 16!!!!!!!!!!!

GO VOLS!!!!!!

mike#208050 writes:

Memphis never talked to the man but he did act interested long enough to get Hamilton nervous. April Fool or in your case, you get to pay the fool a little more and longer.

As a Memphis fan, I sure am glad this situation worked out for you guys. It would be awful for your program to lose all those top recruits you have coming in next year too like we did! Wait a minute, you have no top recruits, still have the same coach and you gave him a raise and a contract extension? And...you are happy over all this?

You have yet another reason to hate Calipari. You have been had by the ole college coach get a raise two step.

See you on the hardwood boys.

TIGRFAN in knoxville

crimsonviper writes:

good for the vols...good for the sec...glad he is staying

scottmichaelmoore#540590 writes:

in response to AFTiger:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BuckheadVol1 writes:

Good to see him stay! Cannot think of another coach right now we could have obtained to continue on building this program. Looking forward to the new Cal/Bruce rivalary!

Volinsider writes:

Coach Pearl, you mean so much to our University and you are the only reason our B-Ball program is back, yes I said BACK to prominence, because it's been sooooo long! Please ignore the idiots that hurt so much when we lose, they say it's your fault...but I think you now understand that where there is passion and high expectations, there will also be extreme criticism. I learned long ago in business that people rarely say "thanks" when they're happy and you've done a good job, but complain fiercely when things go awry. No passion equals no complaints...high passion equals high negativity! That's just the way life is. Won't be long before KY fans complain about Calipari loosing a game.

scottmichaelmoore#540590 writes:

in response to Paladin0711:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nah, thats just Incontheeebable

easleychuck writes:

in response to born2ride:

So we give pay raises for losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament now?

If you think it through, the light bulb will come on and you will figure out it is for the body of work and where the program was and where it is now. I have every confidence that you will be able to figure this out.

Calapari going to KY is a win for UT. Memphis is now wide open to the Vols. And now little Johnny will have no choice but to come to K-Town every season. Wouldn't be surprised if the NCAA cops don't catch up to him at UK.

They have a track record of cheating in their past. And Calapari will sign anyone with a pulse.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

You think UT would have learned from what happened to UK and Gillispie. Stupid.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to AFTiger:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good to see you've accepted that the school is in fact TIGER HIGH. That's the 1st step in a 12 step program, acceptance. I'm sure few people in Memphis wanted Pearl, just FED EX executives, Tiger High administrators, and others who live in Germantown and the other 'safe' compounds in the Memphis area where the rich and famous live. The other memphians are looking for a shot in the arm for the program or a shot in the head in that area of town..

easleychuck writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And why is a ticket increase (your opinion only) any of your Bruce-owned backside?

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to mike#208050:

Memphis never talked to the man but he did act interested long enough to get Hamilton nervous. April Fool or in your case, you get to pay the fool a little more and longer.

As a Memphis fan, I sure am glad this situation worked out for you guys. It would be awful for your program to lose all those top recruits you have coming in next year too like we did! Wait a minute, you have no top recruits, still have the same coach and you gave him a raise and a contract extension? And...you are happy over all this?

You have yet another reason to hate Calipari. You have been had by the ole college coach get a raise two step.

See you on the hardwood boys.

TIGRFAN in knoxville

Mempuss has no recruiting class this year.there wanting out of their LOI and looking else wheres.
How do you know Mempuss didnt talk to Pearl ? oh, you was at the meeting.I forgot.your one of the big donors to? plasma donor doesnt count.

RJ_Vol writes:

YYYYYYYYYYEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!

bookman58 writes:

I am a Memphis fan who has posted here on occasion. I have always tried to be respectful. I never thought Pearl would even think about coming to Memphis. I will be the first to admit that C-USA is killing us, but what do we do about it? I am envious of UT for being in the SEC. Pearl did a masterful job in getting a new deal. I never thought he was doing anything other than that. I think us Memphis fans just feel that Cal just used us and we went from thinking we would contend for the title next year to nothing and I mean nothing. I have not a clue who would want to come to Memphis except a young coach wanting to make a name for himself. Basketball was the one thing that we in the Memphis area had to be proud of. I have lived in Knoxville and it is beautiful, but Memphis is my home and that makes a difference to me. Right now I am just trying to remind myself that any sport is just a game and that I hope UT beats the fool out of Kentucky next year.

Volborn writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Incompetence"? Taking a .500 program where he has taken it the last four years is amazing. He took a team without a point guard to the sweet sixteen! He changed the entire philosphy of this year's team(in freaking January)and he still won the SEC East. You're the only moron I see. Idiot!

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