Pearl thanked Calipari for helping him, staff a 'nice raise'

Going to Memphis was not an option for UT coach

MEMPHIS - Cause: John Calipari goes from Memphis to Kentucky as basketball coach, Tennessee's Bruce Pearl is rumored at the top of the Memphis shopping list.

Effect: Pearl gets a renegotiated six-year deal, with thickened wallets for him and his staff.

Conclusion: "I called Cal a couple of weeks after it happened and said, 'Listen, me and my staff just want to thank you because you helped us get a nice raise', " said Pearl, who was in Memphis on Tuesday along with new Vols football coach Lane Kiffin as part of the annual Big Orange Caravan spring tour stop at the Hilton.

Ironically, Pearl said no one involved from the University of Memphis in charge of the coaching search contacted him directly or indirectly through his agent.

But what if they would have? Would he have entered into contract negotiations on the vacancy that eventually went to Josh Pastner on April 6?

"I would not, out of respect for Tennessee," Pearl said. "That just wasn't an option for me. Memphis is a rival, a competitor, a team on our schedule.

"I think everybody knew what could have been, but I think we (Pearl and Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton working on a contract extension) moved as quickly as possible so it never was."

Until the Calipari-Kentucky situation exploded, Pearl wasn't going to get an extension or raise, since he just got one last July.

And though the Vols went 21-13 this past season and shared the SEC's Eastern Division title for the third time in four seasons under Pearl with another NCAA tournament bid, by all accounts his team underachieved.

It was the preseason favorite to win the league, but sort of flopped around most of the year, because it didn't have dynamic floor leader at point guard, and almost zero outside shooting.

It wasn't until the last couple of weeks of the season when the Vols began playing up-tempo and freshman Scotty Hopson provided some outside firepower.

The Vols managed to get to the finals of the SEC tournament, but lost to Mississippi State.

Then, they lost to Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA tourney.

Pearl hopes his incoming recruits will steady his backcourt problems, especially junior college point guard Melvin Goins, who started two years ago at Ball State as a freshman.

The Vols also could receive a boost if All-SEC forward Tyler Smith comes back for his senior season. Smith has entered the NBA draft, but didn't sign with an agent, leaving him an opening to return to Knoxville.

"The decision to make him eligible and get evaluated is a no-brainer," Pearl said. "If he's able to move into the first round, then he should leave. If he's not and he doesn't want to go to Europe, then he should stay."

Kiffin On the Road: After his first spring football practices in Knoxville, Kiffin and his staff have been busy recruiting. His staff has been at high schools, watching practice and evaluating prospects.

Kiffin has had some of his assistants use a small handheld camera to record prospects practicing, just to get some film to evaluate.

"We're always going to find the best ways to do things," Kiffin said. "Everything we can to get better, we figure out a way to do it. I think we operate on the highest level on recruiting evaluation."

Ron Higgins is a sports writer for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis.

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 59

DirtyVolsack writes:

Any one with a brain would know he WAS NOT going to leave for Tiger High

DirtyVolsack writes:

Oh and one more thing....FIRST. Haha couldn't help my self brothers. So go ahead and get all angry at me now.

cobbwebb writes:

in response to DirtyVolsack:

Any one with a brain would know he WAS NOT going to leave for Tiger High

speaking of, has anyone heard from our memphis friends lately? didnt think so!

VAvolfanRON writes:

is this article like a month late?

Slystone writes:

I still think somebody is lying. What is interesting is that the article stated this "Ironically, Pearl said no one involved from the University of Memphis in charge of the coaching search contacted him directly or indirectly through his agent." Perhaps the Media wanted him, I still think the truth is untold here. It's history now. What will be interesting is can Pearl covet that elusive prize recruit out of Memphis. 2010 has several recruits coming out in Joe Jackson, Tarik Black, Chris Crawford and others. All of which have UT on their list.

AppStVol writes:

Im actually pissed that Bruce would even check in with that sleaz bag. We all know that Calaparri is a thug. I hope he never gets any of Tennessee, we will own his sleazy wanna be coaching azz.

teampenny#658108 writes:

The truth is if Memphis did not need a coach Bruce would not got the pay increase. Pay increase and more wins do not always go hand and hand. Phil got a nice pay upgrade and was fired the next year. All in all we put a lot of money in coaches salaries and do not have the championships other SEC schools have. All sports trophy forget about it! Go Vols

ravensearay writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

The truth is if Memphis did not need a coach Bruce would not got the pay increase. Pay increase and more wins do not always go hand and hand. Phil got a nice pay upgrade and was fired the next year. All in all we put a lot of money in coaches salaries and do not have the championships other SEC schools have. All sports trophy forget about it! Go Vols

Correctomundo..............

give_him_6 writes:

in response to cobbwebb:

speaking of, has anyone heard from our memphis friends lately? didnt think so!

Hmmm, now that you mention it, it has been suspeciously quiet. LOL!!!

eefor10c writes:

Pearl played Hamilton like a banjo. Won 61% of his games and gets a big raise and extension.

Volumni writes:

I also think the Phone Call never happened. Story sounds better this way.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

P.T. Barnum would be proud.

HtownVol writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hate it when people like you talk phooey about Pearl. Where would we be without him? We wouldnt have been in the tourny 4 years in a row! The man has saved UT basketball. He will continue to raise expectations at UT. And people like you hold it against him. We tied for 1st in the east and made it to the SEC championship game. Thank You Bruce Pearl!!! 99% of the real UT fans support you, and we are happy to have one of the BEST coaches in the country!

IdahoVol writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess by "hasn't done anything lately" you mean didn't win a championship? True, the team struggled some this year. But the team was very young and didn't pick up on Pearl's pressing style. Oh, and they were still competing for the conference championship - something we didn't do very often before Pearl.
Pearl has only been here four years, and I think most fans are extremely pleased with the overall body of work. My guess is, next year's team will be back to the Sweet 16 or better, and I'll take that.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You may be a gator fan, but I'm still laughing at that comment - too funny....

Ironcity writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope you are judged on your last days work everyday. Your statement really shows how ignorant you are. If coach Pearl had done poorly over the last 3 years then I would be concerned. If coach Pearl and the Vols had not made the NCAA's, I would say it he didn't have a good year.

Your expectation is that UT should be where it has never been every year. You think because coach Pearl is the 25th highest paid coach in the country that we should be a top 5 program every year. If this is all you can contribute to this forum, save your time and ours.

crappieking writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Hire, don't worry. There is no "us" when it pertains to you. You are certainly not a Vol fan, you miserable KY fan imbred.

TommyJack writes:

Call him sleezbag, scumbag, whatever. But the reality is, Calipari will do a stellar job at KY. Sad but true.

VolMoment writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How stupid you are, boy. Mike Hamilton is running a big business. UT basketball is competitive, I guess you think Duke should fire Coach K. This is not middle school basketball, I love to win as much as anybody, Pearl gives us that chance and we haven't had that since Coach Ray Mears and Coach Don DeVoe (before they put the shot clock in on Devoe). Wake up and enjoy what we have. Keep sacking those groceries.

Voluvr writes:

Hamilton split the difference to keep Pearl. Ham protected his job by keeping him but he didn't give away the farm to keep him. I'd say Ham did a good job to keep a coach that has brought Tennessee out of the cellar.

Now as not every player that Calimari tried to recruit to Kentucky before he announced his graduation from Tiger High, he's actually going to have to work to get players. Kentucky will join Florida as just scrimmage for Pearl.

chargervol writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The baby blue boys team have lost alot of firepower this year. Your team could actually be the third best team in your state this year. Just saying. GO VOLS!!!

OrangeMan_86 writes:

So troll, aka TarNuts. You feel Kentucky is better than Tennessee for destroying them twice and will do it again? You do realize Calipari's style plays into Pearls hands unlike Billy G's. Memphis had a far better team than Kentucky when Pearl beat #1 Memphis in Memphis. They ended a 47 game home winning streak. Calipari brings his style and players to Kentucky and suddenly because the names on the jerseys change, Kentucky is better? The sad thing is Kentucky played the #64 SOS compared to Tennessee's #2 SOS, had a two game advantage on Tennessee by sweeping them and still finished below Tennessee for the fourth year in a row. Kentucky(Billy G) may have been better than Tennessee head to head but you're stupid if you believe they were better overall. If you do in fact believe they were better than Tennessee last year then you believe Tennessee was better than back to back National Champions Florida right? Tennessee was 3-1 vs. those two teams. If I'm Florida I'll take losing to Tennessee and winning championships. If I'm Tennessee I'll take losing to Kentucky and finishing ahead of them/making the tournament. But what do I know...

CheckerboardPhilosopher writes:

Check out this hilarious fark of Kiffin one of our 3sib guys did for this Pearl blog.'

http://www.3sib.com/2009/04/29/pearl-...

PaulTheVol writes:

Don't be so naive - Pearl said that no one contacted him or his agent either directly or indirectly. That still leaves a lot of people who could have been contacted by Memphis or some other school. Hamilton didn't throw money at Pearl because he likes it, he gave Pearl a new contract because he knew there was interest and he did what he needed to do. It wasn't a matter of whether Pearl deserved the money, it was a matter of whether UT wanted to keep him.

As for Kentucky "owning" us, Calipari was already attracting elite talent and had a top 5 program at Memphis and we had success against them. He can't do much better than that at Kentucky, what's he going to do - recruit from the NBA? There is a big difference between playing SMU and Tulsa back-to-back on the road and playing Florida and Tennessee back-to-back on the road. We'll see how things work out.

Those cameras the coaches are using - Coach O used those 3 years ago at Ole Miss. It really helped them in evaluating which juniors to offer early.

tennezz writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, this shows how stupid you are! Under Pearl, we have won the SEC Championship, we have been to the NCAA playoffs every year! He has upgraded our recruiting and our basketball facilites and we even won 21 games in an off year! If you want to see who is dumb go look in the mirror!

CrankE writes:

in response to rcr12:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

AMEN! Pearl says of going to Memphis, "I would not, out of respect for Tennessee." But not enough respect apparently to share that sentiment with UT before getting a raise. Nor enough respect to tell UT them no one from Memphis actually called.

I'll respect you in the morning. Pearl will do some more great things at UT, but I think it's safe to say that the honeymoon is over.

OrangeMan_86 writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I know you're a Florida or Kentucky fan so this will be my last response to you gatorz/dc/f***ing loser. If Tennessee is a nobody in basketbal then why are you here? You care enough about Tennessee to sit in your basement all day talking ****. Come talk **** to one of our faces kiddo. We'll be glad to knock some teeth down your throat. Hide behind your computer and get your jollies off like the useless loser you are though. Have fun because no chick is pathetic enough to get in bed with you. If she is, she is obviously fat or missing teeth or something. You have no life... good job.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

P.T. Barnum would be proud.

"There's a sucker born every minute." Sometimes two.

tennezz writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must se a dumbazz, you are not smart enough to be a smartazz!

Reason writes:

"Out of respect for Tennessee, I used Memphis to play Mike Hamilton and get more money."

tnboystuckinkentucky writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, you're not a Tar Heel fan are you? All you ever do is kiss Calamari's azz...by the way, who's he gotten outside of Cousins (good recruit who will have someone take his SAT for him, so he can def play next yr) and Orton (which Gillespie actually recruited) that can make an immediate impact? That's right, he's not done much since he left Mempiss except lose the recruits he had b4 taking the KY job. HAHAHA!!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Call him sleezbag, scumbag, whatever. But the reality is, Calipari will do a stellar job at KY. Sad but true.

And the truth hurts.

I hear Memphis fans are using even more colorful language to describe Cal these days.

Vol_Jokes writes:

So fun reading all the posts for delusional vol fans. You read this story and then you want to criticize Cal and Memphis? Love is blind right. This story said exactly what I told you clowns awhile back. Your coach used the situation to get a big raise. He was never going to go and he knew it and Memphis didn't want him. Your stupid athletic director freaked at the thoughts of Memphis stealing your coach and he did some stupid things. Maybe just maybe he should have waited to see if it were true instead of wasting UT's money on an under performing coach that has not done much of anything in over 1 year now. Pearl thinks so much of Tenn. that he would never leave to go to Memphis yet he didn't think enough of you to not get a
lot of money that he didn't deserve. Do you think maybe he should have acted correctly and refused a raise based on his performance last season and that he had no intentions of leaving and Memphis had not even contacted him. Not Mr. Pearl. He took it and smiled. He's loving it. He can do no wrong there. Bad seasons and the fans still think he's the greatest. Only in volville. What's even worse now is that he's admitting all of this about the raise and going around bragging about it. He thinks it's all funny now. Memphis may have gotten screwed but at least we don't have Pearl. At least we have a chance. Something tells me in spite of everything that has happened we're going to climb right on up ahead of the vols again. That's the way it's always been, why change it.

Colliervol writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Non UT fan. Opinion irrelevant.

Colliervol writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are not among "us". Don't even bother.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolMoment:

How stupid you are, boy. Mike Hamilton is running a big business. UT basketball is competitive, I guess you think Duke should fire Coach K. This is not middle school basketball, I love to win as much as anybody, Pearl gives us that chance and we haven't had that since Coach Ray Mears and Coach Don DeVoe (before they put the shot clock in on Devoe). Wake up and enjoy what we have. Keep sacking those groceries.

wl is no Vol. He's a poser/loper. Doesn't enjoy what "we" have. Roiling and riling is his game. Best to ignore.

tnboystuckinkentucky writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

So fun reading all the posts for delusional vol fans. You read this story and then you want to criticize Cal and Memphis? Love is blind right. This story said exactly what I told you clowns awhile back. Your coach used the situation to get a big raise. He was never going to go and he knew it and Memphis didn't want him. Your stupid athletic director freaked at the thoughts of Memphis stealing your coach and he did some stupid things. Maybe just maybe he should have waited to see if it were true instead of wasting UT's money on an under performing coach that has not done much of anything in over 1 year now. Pearl thinks so much of Tenn. that he would never leave to go to Memphis yet he didn't think enough of you to not get a
lot of money that he didn't deserve. Do you think maybe he should have acted correctly and refused a raise based on his performance last season and that he had no intentions of leaving and Memphis had not even contacted him. Not Mr. Pearl. He took it and smiled. He's loving it. He can do no wrong there. Bad seasons and the fans still think he's the greatest. Only in volville. What's even worse now is that he's admitting all of this about the raise and going around bragging about it. He thinks it's all funny now. Memphis may have gotten screwed but at least we don't have Pearl. At least we have a chance. Something tells me in spite of everything that has happened we're going to climb right on up ahead of the vols again. That's the way it's always been, why change it.

Yeah, he's enjoying it and laughing it up, but Mike Hamilton doesn't care as long as he's happy. He's made 2 sweet sixteens in four seasons, and if this season was as bad as it's going to get w/ Pearl, so be it. I'll take a mediocre season over not making the tourney at all. Btw, we're 2-2 vs. Mempiss, since Pearl arrived, and now you don't any of the recruits you had one month ago...Mempiss will once again become irrelevant, and I can't wait to rub in your face!

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolDog25:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Evidently somebody who'd like to have Buzz Peterson back on the bench.

I appreciate how this program has changed in the last four years and that we now have the luxury of demanding higher goals. And just who do you think has provided the change and the opportunity? That would be Bruce Pearl. Nothing else needs to be said.

Colliervol writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ten year old non-UT fan. Opinion more than irrelevant.

LEXKYVOLS writes:

I actually had lunch with Coach Cal and 12 other guys here in Lexington two weeks ago and one of the comments he made was that Coach Pearl did call him that morning and thanked him for getting the coaching staff at UT a pay raise. I thought he was joking since he said this right after I told him that I was a Tennessee fan but now I know it was true.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey gator, isn't lunch at the Jiffy Lube done yet? Funny you have to hide behind a Tar Heels moniker. Heels have decades of winning attitudes & history. They don't have to get on other conferences blogs and mouth off. Gator fans have only a relative few years of B Ball & Football success. They mouth off as newly minted winners often do.

BIGEJ writes:

Just earn that raise and GO VOLs.

Colliervol writes:

in response to ncvol17:

Hey gator, isn't lunch at the Jiffy Lube done yet? Funny you have to hide behind a Tar Heels moniker. Heels have decades of winning attitudes & history. They don't have to get on other conferences blogs and mouth off. Gator fans have only a relative few years of B Ball & Football success. They mouth off as newly minted winners often do.

Kind of like a rich young couple that has become one of the "nouveau rich". Lots of money but very little class.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Arrogant, no. Opportunistic, absolutely. Hamilton couldn't take the chance that Pearl might leave. If your employer decides to give you a raise for whatever reason, you're not going to turn it down whether you deserve it or not.

Tennessee fans haven't treated Pearl quite like Fulmer yet because the Vols aren't used to the same kind of sustained success in men's basketball as they've had in football. Pearl's 2008-09 team was overrated, not by CBP himself, but by the media.

Pearl has done something other coaches have been unable to do...improve the status of the men's basketball program to a level even better than that of Don DeVoe and the late Ray Mears.

utvolz#637682 writes:

And now Coach Cal gets to see the "blazer" live and in color!

buxavol writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wlvol?? Thought you were whvol-Wade Houston! Sounds like something he'd post...

Vol_Jokes writes:

I just heard Pearl wants UT pay for his new Rolls Royce. He's been going around the last few days talking about how much he misses Wisconsin. Heard he called a press conference to announce how much he loved Wisconsin and that he knew they'd take him back in a heartbeat. At the end of the press conference he mentioned that he'd always wanted a Rolls but that he knew he couldn't afford it. Hinted that he doesn't think he can stay happy in Tenn. unless he's driving one. Mentioned that he wanted "BP gets what he wants" painted on the hood in orange and "Are these people dumb or what" written on the trunk.
Guess the Univ. will have to get their wallets out again. Let's keep this man happy.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

that's okay. gator fans don't know the difference in "class" and "@$$."

Raynoch writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

So fun reading all the posts for delusional vol fans. You read this story and then you want to criticize Cal and Memphis? Love is blind right. This story said exactly what I told you clowns awhile back. Your coach used the situation to get a big raise. He was never going to go and he knew it and Memphis didn't want him. Your stupid athletic director freaked at the thoughts of Memphis stealing your coach and he did some stupid things. Maybe just maybe he should have waited to see if it were true instead of wasting UT's money on an under performing coach that has not done much of anything in over 1 year now. Pearl thinks so much of Tenn. that he would never leave to go to Memphis yet he didn't think enough of you to not get a
lot of money that he didn't deserve. Do you think maybe he should have acted correctly and refused a raise based on his performance last season and that he had no intentions of leaving and Memphis had not even contacted him. Not Mr. Pearl. He took it and smiled. He's loving it. He can do no wrong there. Bad seasons and the fans still think he's the greatest. Only in volville. What's even worse now is that he's admitting all of this about the raise and going around bragging about it. He thinks it's all funny now. Memphis may have gotten screwed but at least we don't have Pearl. At least we have a chance. Something tells me in spite of everything that has happened we're going to climb right on up ahead of the vols again. That's the way it's always been, why change it.

The clock has struck midnight THS fan. Your stupid athletic department is back to normal. No one cares about Memphis anymore. Enjoy competing with Tulsa, Tulane and the rest of those goobs in CUSA.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TarHeelsRule:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I still don't understand why you even care. We're not in your conference, we don't play you in anything, we don't even recruit directly against you, and nobody claimed the Vols are as good as UNC. I seriously doubt UT fans are running down the Tar Heels on UNC boards. So what the heck is your deal? Gator, Bama, Memphis, and UK lopers I get, but YOU...? WTF, dude? Did Pearl fail to recruit you? Did you fail to get into UT? What's your beef anyway?

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