Pearl: UT 'going to move on'

Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl thought it couldn't be a better time to address the Tip-Off Club on Wednesday, four days after his Vols upset Kansas, then the nation's No. 1 team.

He did have much to say about the win, but there was another topic also to be addressed before fans gathered at Calhoun's on the River.

"It's just a very disappointing time, but I can promise you we're going to move on," Pearl said.

He was referring to the shocking announcement Tuesday night that UT football coach Lane Kiffin was leaving after just one season. Pearl did his best to soothe the troubled crowd.

"We've been playing football here pretty darn good for 113 years," he said. "We've got some of the best tradition in all of college football, and thanks to the best fans in America that is going to continue. I promise you.

"We are going to move on. Our young student athletes are resilient. I think, more than anything, the thing we all share in is that we all feel bad for the kids more than anybody else. OK? Don't feel bad for yourselves."

Pearl said taking on a new opportunity is exciting, but leaving a good job and good athletes behind is a tough price to pay.

"I've left twice. And I stayed Southern Indiana for nine years. After my second or third year, there were opportunities to move to Division I, and I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't pull myself to walk into that room and tell those players what I was going to have to tell them - and what I did tell them after nine years at Southern Indiana. The same thing happened at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and it's because of the way you do have to build the team and the promises you make and the commitment you ask for. All you try to do is hold up your end of the bargain."

He said fans shouldn't worry too much about players currently on the team.

"Kids are resilient; I promise you they are," he said. "I'm sure Coach Kiffin handled it well with them last night, explaining some of the business sides of things. It's very difficult to explain it from the human side of things, because then you're getting into the stuff that's in your heart. You can't defend the heart part of the decision. You handle it from the standpoint of being somewhat business-like and things like that.

"They're resilient. They will bounce back. They came here to the University of Tennessee to play football in that stadium. They've played for other coaches before. They'll play for another coach again. I promise you, they'll handle it. We as a staff are going to do all we can to help them get through it. I guarantee you my student athletes are in conversations with those guys, feeling for them, helping them through it and making us a stronger family."

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Comments » 4

kennypowers writes:

We need to have a strong crowd on hand for the Ole Miss game. Hopefully there will still be a decent number of recruits in town this weekend and we need to show them that UT is bigger than any coach.

Volumnus writes:

I appreciate what CBP said. I also bet he was silently saying "thankyou Lane Kiffin", because the spotlight shifted away from the basketball fiasco.
What are a few misdemeanors when your football coach bails out???
Again I am glad he said what he said and that he is pitching in, but golly do we have a mess on our hands all the way around. Now all we need is for the swim team and golf team to hold up a liquor store in their speedos and spikes brandishing 9 irons and wedges!

GBO! I am looking forward to field hockey season!

BillVol writes:

At least we have one coach who is loyal to Tennessee. Thanks, Bruce.

wayoutwill writes:

in response to Volumnus:

I appreciate what CBP said. I also bet he was silently saying "thankyou Lane Kiffin", because the spotlight shifted away from the basketball fiasco.
What are a few misdemeanors when your football coach bails out???
Again I am glad he said what he said and that he is pitching in, but golly do we have a mess on our hands all the way around. Now all we need is for the swim team and golf team to hold up a liquor store in their speedos and spikes brandishing 9 irons and wedges!

GBO! I am looking forward to field hockey season!

I'm gonna venture a guess that Bruce Pearl truly hates that Lane Traitor was ever hired and you certainly didn't get the impression that he was taking up for him when he made those statements about "not leaving" because of his committments to his players!I can't imagine that Bruce Pearl was "too worried" about the 'situation" with his B-Ball team that he thought "It's great day in the morning that attention has been shifted away from my team because of Lane"--I think he answered all questions about "his team" and "his ability" when he beat the best team in the nation last Sunday!I thought your post was still funny concerning the swim team and track team,and I agree that we are in a mess,"thanks to Hamilton"--but I do belive that the Vols will rise again,I also belive that the Trojans are gonna get what they got coming and it's great that the scumbags that left here will be getting the comeuppance that they got coming!It's already lots of talk about "why would anyone go play for him after this stunt that he's pulling"--I hope it gathers steam and buries them all!

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