Billy Donovan on Bruce Pearl: 'We all make mistakes'

Scotty Hopson talks about elevating his game

He doesn't have to worry about Bruce Pearl as an adversary for two hours tonight. Still, Billy Donovan said his adversary/colleague is in his thoughts.

"I've got a good relationship with Bruce," Donovan said Monday on the eve of Florida's visit to Tennessee. "I feel bad, in a lot of ways, for the things he's going through personally.''

Pearl serves the second game of an eight-game SEC suspension tonight when Donovan's Gators meet the Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena.

During five seasons in the SEC East, the two rivals have become friends. Last year, Donovan participated in Pearl's OUTLIVE cancer fundraising event the evening before the game in Knoxville.

"It's an unfortunate situation,'' Donovan said of Pearl's suspension that resulted from his lying to NCAA investigators last summer.

"I look at it from a different standpoint. We all make mistakes. We all do things we regret. Nobody's perfect and I'm not condoning any of his actions because I don't know what went on.

"But, you know what? He is a person, a human being. Forget the coaching, forget the sanctions. Him as a person, I hope he's able to find some peace in his heart with what happened and can move forward in his life.''

The suspension for half the SEC regular season levied by commissioner Mike Slive was unprecedented, and came in addition to penalties levied by UT.

The NCAA has yet to add its punishment.

"I'm not saying the penalties are too harsh, not harsh enough,'' said Donovan. "But when you're in coaching, I think you understand there are different pressures. People respond and handle things differently.

"At the core, I think Bruce is a good person. I don't think he's a bad guy.''

Pearl said Monday that watching the Vols lose to Arkansas from a hotel room was "harder than I ever dreamed'' it would be."

"Obviously,'' he added, "I've let the guys down. I'm responsible for the fact that I'm not there and can't help them over the course of a game.

"It's a helpless feeling.''

Auburn At Rupp: Auburn's first-year coach Tony Barbee can't imagine anything worse than trailing LSU 32-6 halftime at home.

But with the Tigers going into Rupp Arena tonight, it raises ugly possibilities.

"We set the game back about 50 years,'' Barbee said. "I've never seen anything like that.

"It is what it is. We are an offensively challenged team. We don't shoot the ball well. We don't have anybody we can post the ball to on a consistent basis and we don't have anybody talented enough to go make plays for us.''

Auburn rallied to lose by a respectable 65-59. Tonight Barbee faces his mentor and former boss at Memphis, John Calipari.

"There hasn't been another male figure outside my dad who's had the impact he's had on myself, personally and professionally,'' Barbee said.

Gamecocks Sweep: South Carolina dominated SEC weekly honors.

Sam Muldrow is the player of the week and Bruce Ellington the freshman of the week.

Georgia Tough Stuff: Calipari said Kentucky's loss at Georgia was dictated by the Bulldogs' physical play.

"We couldn't play through bumps,'' Calipari said. "We started throwing shots that have no chance of going in.''

Georgia moves on Wednesday to face another physical team, Vanderbilt, at Nashville.

Coach Mark Fox said star forward Trey Thompkins still isn't 100 percent back from his August foot injury.

"He's a lot closer,'' Fox said, "I'd say 90, 95 percent. And I think he gets better each week.''

Georgia and Thompkins play Tennessee next week.

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Comments » 24

Major_Magilicutty writes:

I like Donovan. Always been a classy guy. His appearance at OUTLIVE last year was a great gesture. As he did our coach, I wish him the best.

manoffewwords writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

I like Donovan. Always been a classy guy. His appearance at OUTLIVE last year was a great gesture. As he did our coach, I wish him the best.

agree 100%

TennVol01 writes:

Cudos to Donovan. Need a new job?

murrayvol writes:

BD's underappreciated at FU.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Billy D is pretty well liked. So was Tubby, I think. Still think he got royally screwed.

Bruce's team reflects Bruce: tough time handling success.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hell, zz (in his various forms) and that other gator guy (escapes me for now) and, especially 99gator, are usually more 'fun' than quite a few of our own fans.

Another guy like that is catscratch. Most of 'em will talk sports if you are not a jerk with them.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow! I like those 2 articles above. Donovan's a class act. I'm not sure why the Auburn thing was thrown in, and Calipari (be praised) though. It has little to do with UT beating Floprida TONIGHT!!
FLOPRIDA was a missprint but I like it!!!

Down_The_Field writes:

see, trolls. even your coach likes him.

and for those heart warming things donovan said, i'll refrain from calling him grease head for 24 hours.

VolMoment writes:

in response to MrPearl2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get a life. Yes the world would be better if people responded to more postive things instead of waiting in the deep shadow of your own patheic life to say something negative. Every coach has probably said to the NCAA, I don't remember. Guess what in court if you say I don't remember as an answer to keep from saying yes, you are lying, so every coach has probably lied. BP came forward and admitted it. BD respects that and stands behind him. Thanks coach D.

abnermc writes:

in response to MrPearl2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And maybe everyone knows you can't SELL your services (or your son's) but i think i remember Cam playing last night.ROFLCGU

Troll_Here writes:

I always liked Pearl and I'm glad you guys kept him. He's a top notch coach and good for our conference. It's too bad for my Gators that Pearl's style of play doesn't match up well with what Billy wants to do.

Bigger_Al writes:

I'm sorry I called him Eddie Munster.

shipperman#280095 writes:

Bruce didn't make a mistake, he told blatant lies and then asked recruits and their families to lie. Sadly that goes far above a mistake, and Bruce will be made to pay for it dearly. The NCAA, joke that they are, will have to make an example of someone, and I fear UT and Bruce will be the ones they make examples of

Vol86 writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

I'm sorry I called him Eddie Munster.

WE are not. But maybe an ok guy this Eddie.

crappieking writes:

Mrspearl2 = The bitter ex-wife.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Very nice of Billy. Wonder if ESPN will share this during the game while they are not covering what's happening on the court.

abnermc writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Bruce didn't make a mistake, he told blatant lies and then asked recruits and their families to lie. Sadly that goes far above a mistake, and Bruce will be made to pay for it dearly. The NCAA, joke that they are, will have to make an example of someone, and I fear UT and Bruce will be the ones they make examples of

Of course there were no intentional lies from the Newtons & what was the punishment... Suspended for 8 SEC games? The bowl game? The championship game? Fined $ 1.5 mil? nah. good ole ncaa, & Slive & SEC.

Halls3 writes:

Billy D has always been classy & is a great coach. The fact he's had a clean program & 2 NCs is a perfect example of the coach he is. Maybe Pearl can get past this & do the things to clean up UT's program & win some NCs too. Oh and this is the perspective of a UF fan in Knoxville. May be a "troll" to some I guess but at least I'm a true fan, not an obnoxious annoyance like some non UT fans on here.

GOPROKID (Inactive) writes:

Billy D is 1 of only 4 coaches to have 2 National Championships...The fact that they are back-to-back makes it all the more impressive. He is recruiting well..he'll be back in the final 4 sooner than you think.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Halls3:

Billy D has always been classy & is a great coach. The fact he's had a clean program & 2 NCs is a perfect example of the coach he is. Maybe Pearl can get past this & do the things to clean up UT's program & win some NCs too. Oh and this is the perspective of a UF fan in Knoxville. May be a "troll" to some I guess but at least I'm a true fan, not an obnoxious annoyance like some non UT fans on here.

I enjoy REAL fans of the game. Glad you came on here. Some of the arguing on here is funny to me. Occasionally I'll join in but mostly think it's some one trying to 'cause more posting or some disgruntled former player or professor or wife...who knows?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Ho yeh, GOOOooooooooo VOOLLLLLSSSssssss !!!

tennisvol writes:

Seems to always be a class act.

collegegrad writes:

I say, if UT really wants to rid this cancer of lying and cheating, then Bruce Pearl needs to be fired. I don't think what Pearl did was an accident, it was intentional. The NCAA should recommend that UTK remove Pearl and name someone else. Then Pearl can get a new career started as a dishwasher at some sports grill.

77VolFS writes:

in response to Halls3:

Billy D has always been classy & is a great coach. The fact he's had a clean program & 2 NCs is a perfect example of the coach he is. Maybe Pearl can get past this & do the things to clean up UT's program & win some NCs too. Oh and this is the perspective of a UF fan in Knoxville. May be a "troll" to some I guess but at least I'm a true fan, not an obnoxious annoyance like some non UT fans on here.

Agree with you Halls, Billy D is classy and a good coach. I felt for him years back when he lost his son. Then his attendance last year at OUTLIVE event prior to game spoke volumes to me. I like people on here that can converse without insults - I have no problem with fans from other schools that are rabid fans - if you're going to be for someone, then be a fan. That's what makes the SEC the best conference in the country. Unfortunately, every school has fans as well that show little class. Usually they never did put on a uniform. Go Vols !!

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