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."