“When I worked here at the University of Tennessee, if all that had happened, I would be greatly surprised if (former UT officials) Bob Woodruff or Dr. (Ed) Boling would have supported me as long as the University of Tennessee has supported coach Pearl,’’ DeVoe said after speaking to the Big Orange TipOff Club at Calhoun's on the River on Wednesday. “It’s really unfortunate, and I don’t know where this is gonna end, but it has certainly marred the image of Tennessee men’s basketball.’’
Pearl spoke to the club briefly and was not present when DeVoe addressed the audience and conducted the interview afterward.
“You can be successful without having to cross the line,'' said DeVoe, who coached at UT from 1978-89. “It just requires a lot of work, it requires intelligence; but you certainly don't ever need to cross the line when it comes to recruiting. It just makes everybody look bad.
DeVoe was also of critical of Pearl when addressing the club.
“Tennessee has paid a price this year, and I think Tennessee men's basketball will pay a price for a while,'' he said. "It's really a shame, because to me this is all nonsense, because when you have all the amenities that Tennessee has, you just don't have to do the other.
"It looks like things are gonna pretty much come to a head real soon and we're gonna know what's going to happen, but It's a real shame to have ever crossed that line and gotten where Tennessee has gotten today.''