Bruce Pearl watches final games of Rocky Top League

Former Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, right, watches the Knoxville News Sentinel and ChoiceSpine teams go head-to-head while daughter Jackie, left, and wife, Brandy, center, look on during the Men's Pilot Rocky Top League championship game at Bearden High School Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer, Adam Brimer

Former Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, right, watches the Knoxville News Sentinel and ChoiceSpine teams go head-to-head while daughter Jackie, left, and wife, Brandy, center, look on during the Men's Pilot Rocky Top League championship game at Bearden High School Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Former UT coach Bruce Pearl talks about the Rocky Top League

Bruce Pearl left the Bearden High School gym to applause and cheers of “Bruuuuce!”

The former Tennessee men’s basketball coach showed up for the championship game of the Pilot Rocky Top League game with his wife and daughters to see his son, Steven, play for victorious Choice Spine on Wednesday night.

“Tonight was about me coming out to see my son play and supporting the guys we recruited to Tennessee who have played hard for the Vols,’’ Pearl said. “These guys are well-seasoned now, and they’re ready to play.’’

Pearl, who was fired by former UT athletic director Mike Hamilton on March 21, helped get the Rocky Top League off the ground some 5 ½ years ago. Pearl shared the concept with league commissioner Andre Whitehead, who continues to manage it.

“I knew people would want to see these games, because of the success we had with a similar league in Iowa,’’ Pearl said.

“The fans want to see the new players, the development of the returning players and the former Vols.

“The only thing I didn’t anticipate was the immediate level of interest and the standing-room-only crowds.’’

Pearl said the only remaining frontier for the league that he sees would be if it were picked up by a cable television channel.

Pearl’s presence at Bearden on Wednesday night created a ripple of excitement, even among the players.

“I think it’s really good that Coach Pearl is here and he can see how much we’re all improving,’’ said UT rising sophomore Jordan McRae. “I’m not really upset I didn’t play more for him my first year, because while I think I was ready physically, I don’t believe I was really ready mentally.’’

Pearl had attended games the past four years, as by NCAA rule he was allowed to watch his son compete in the summer league.

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Comments » 62

vols2#227315 writes:

Bring back a winning coach(Pearl).

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Personally I think it's a bit unfair to Coach Martin for Pearl to keep lurking around the program. JMHO. But I do remember the NASTY...NASTY reaction to Fulmer having an office in the athletic department just after being fired. Oh yeah, I forgot. A coach with a National Championship and 152-52 record in your #1 sport who bleeds orange doesn't compare to an implant who came here with his slick talk and left us sitting in front of the NCAA. Double standard?

GreerVol22 writes:

Pearl is/was dishonest, don't trust him...move on.

wildmed writes:

To me, this guy will ALWAYS mean Tennessee Basketball. He's a part of the tradition now. Thanks for the memories, Bruce.

jsnewman writes:

Well say what you want about Pearl but I hope he lurks for years to come. He would make a great AD. Martin doesn't have much of a record and like Dooley he has allot to prove. If he fails, give Bruce the job back.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to jsnewman:

Well say what you want about Pearl but I hope he lurks for years to come. He would make a great AD. Martin doesn't have much of a record and like Dooley he has allot to prove. If he fails, give Bruce the job back.

I just asked a question, and I think it was a pretty fair one at that. But an AD? OK, take my last post and add to it, the reaction to Fulmer's name being mentioned for AD, which I'm opposed to. Total mayhem. Pearl for AD...I'm just gonna write that off as a joke. That was sarcasm...wasn't it.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry dude. But I just remember folks saying Phil shouldn't be able to look over Kiffin's shoulder and should take his buyout and leave. Pearl bashing...UH OK. All I'm saying is Pearl needs to take his buyout and go. It's VERY unfair IMO for him to be around the team and the players. Pearl had his time, now it's Coach Martin's time, that's all I'm saying. How many Pearl articles have we seen compared to Martin as of late? Oh yeah, I forgot. It was the same when Dooley came. KNS was obsessed with writing about Lane Kiffin for 6 months as if he were still our coach. Guess it will be the same with Pearl.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fulmer was given an office and a secretary in Stokely for a few months to finish paperwork, answer mail, etc.

The difference between Pearl and Fulmer is that Pearl knew he should have been fired and was resigned to it. Fulmer had a harder time accepting his fate.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Sorry dude. But I just remember folks saying Phil shouldn't be able to look over Kiffin's shoulder and should take his buyout and leave. Pearl bashing...UH OK. All I'm saying is Pearl needs to take his buyout and go. It's VERY unfair IMO for him to be around the team and the players. Pearl had his time, now it's Coach Martin's time, that's all I'm saying. How many Pearl articles have we seen compared to Martin as of late? Oh yeah, I forgot. It was the same when Dooley came. KNS was obsessed with writing about Lane Kiffin for 6 months as if he were still our coach. Guess it will be the same with Pearl.

It's called drama. Drama sells. Compared to Pearl and Kiffin, Dooley and Martin are milquetoast.

newportvol writes:

fellow UT fans Im sometimes ashamed to be part of this fan base.. So things people will say behind a computer screen.. Shameful.. BP son you remember steven pearl? was in the championship game.. What father wouldnt go? Would you If your son was part of the game?? I think Pearl will stay in town and maybe do a little bit of radio or national tv for a couple years till the NCAA moves on.. Pearl screwed up but who hasnt? Have you ever lied to your boss? I know i have...

Kelly8 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

It's called drama. Drama sells. Compared to Pearl and Kiffin, Dooley and Martin are milquetoast.

+1 for using "milquetoast". If this were Deadspin, you'd be starred for that alone.

agohn writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Personally I think it's a bit unfair to Coach Martin for Pearl to keep lurking around the program. JMHO. But I do remember the NASTY...NASTY reaction to Fulmer having an office in the athletic department just after being fired. Oh yeah, I forgot. A coach with a National Championship and 152-52 record in your #1 sport who bleeds orange doesn't compare to an implant who came here with his slick talk and left us sitting in front of the NCAA. Double standard?

Wah Wah Wah. Is that you Tim Tebow? Why don't you leave the man alone. He's not the coach anymore, so you can let it go now. If he wants to be a fan and watch the games of the league he started, then so be it.

Lurk all you want to Bruce. If I were Bruce, I would show up to all the UT games this coming season. Just because, f it...that's why.

What some of you Bruce bashers are failing to understand is that he was picked on by the NCAA for trying to recruit a kid for college. Wow. I don't care if he was having a tea party for a bunch of kindergarteners and lied about it. There are worse tragedies in the world. When did it become a crime to try and get a kid an education?

Ohh ya...Rich, I think you need some therapy. You seem a little too amped up over a little lie. Hope you don't have any kids. I would hate to see what you would do to them if they embellished the truth.

ZTaylor writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VOLliven2it writes:

We don't need BP in town or anywhere near the University of Tennessee. Just wait until we hear the final verdict. But he is here and obviously has that right. It is just ridiculous how it plays out. Those of you who like him enough and delude yourselves into thinking it would not have been so bad if he stayed need to join him where ever he eventually goes. If his son was playing, I don't blame him for being at the game. But he knows as we all do it will cause the media to go beserk. Cuonzo Martin is our head coach, like it dislike it, it is truth. Let's get behind him and the herculean task he has been left to accomplish thanks to whom.....former head coach Bruce Pearl.

Ironcity writes:

in response to VOLliven2it:

We don't need BP in town or anywhere near the University of Tennessee. Just wait until we hear the final verdict. But he is here and obviously has that right. It is just ridiculous how it plays out. Those of you who like him enough and delude yourselves into thinking it would not have been so bad if he stayed need to join him where ever he eventually goes. If his son was playing, I don't blame him for being at the game. But he knows as we all do it will cause the media to go beserk. Cuonzo Martin is our head coach, like it dislike it, it is truth. Let's get behind him and the herculean task he has been left to accomplish thanks to whom.....former head coach Bruce Pearl.

Martin could care less the only one going beserk is you. Lighten up. The NCAA will do what they are going to do but be certain of one thing, the only thing Pearl did different then the rest of the D1 coaches is get caught. For that he had to be let go. I wish him well and appreciate the excitement he brought while he was here.

VOLunTEAR writes:

If there's any class at all, he watches his son's final game and then moves on. We can't wallow in Pearl-grief for the rest of our lives. He screwed his tewam, the university, the fans, the NCAA - and then for good measure he screwed himself. How pathetic that his minions have to keep licking his drip.

TommyJack writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

Pearl is/was dishonest, don't trust him...move on.

You used to make sense, Greer man. Not so much anymore.

tovolny writes:

in response to RockyMountainVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Check your mayonnaise jar Carnac, sounds like it may have some spirits in it.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to newportvol:

fellow UT fans Im sometimes ashamed to be part of this fan base.. So things people will say behind a computer screen.. Shameful.. BP son you remember steven pearl? was in the championship game.. What father wouldnt go? Would you If your son was part of the game?? I think Pearl will stay in town and maybe do a little bit of radio or national tv for a couple years till the NCAA moves on.. Pearl screwed up but who hasnt? Have you ever lied to your boss? I know i have...

Pearl didn't lie to his boss - he lied to the sheriff. Then he recanted his lies to the sheriff and came clean to the boss - for a while.

vols_fan_n_tx writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not an expert on NCAA rules, but I don't think Coach Martin can attend these games. The only reason Pearl could go was because his son played.

samvol writes:

Bruce's wife has a sad look in her eyes...she probable wondering why she's there after the embarrassment her husband caused UT. IJS

agohn writes:

in response to samvol:

Bruce's wife has a sad look in her eyes...she probable wondering why she's there after the embarrassment her husband caused UT. IJS

You're pathetic.

MidTennVol writes:

in response to newportvol:

fellow UT fans Im sometimes ashamed to be part of this fan base.. So things people will say behind a computer screen.. Shameful.. BP son you remember steven pearl? was in the championship game.. What father wouldnt go? Would you If your son was part of the game?? I think Pearl will stay in town and maybe do a little bit of radio or national tv for a couple years till the NCAA moves on.. Pearl screwed up but who hasnt? Have you ever lied to your boss? I know i have...

Scrolling down reading these posts always makes my blood boil. Cowards hiding behind keyboards spewing things they would never say to a man's face...

And then I run across a single voice of sanity and reason ... like yours.

Thank you. It reminds me that entire fan base is not comprised exclusively of obnoxious, ignorant exhibitionists.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Bruce
You still the man!

dvhill100 writes:

Whatever his transgressions, he was there as a father watching his son play ball. Anything else is manufactured by the media and lapped up by some of the fans on this thread. As far as leaving, really? He lost his job, and now some people want to be the western sheriff "You've got til sundown to get out of town." Get a grip.

lomas98 writes:

in response to vols_fan_n_tx:

I'm not an expert on NCAA rules, but I don't think Coach Martin can attend these games. The only reason Pearl could go was because his son played.

Martin cannot attend. Pearl can go even if his son wasn't playing...the event is open to the public and Bruce is now part of that general public. He has no NCAA ties right now. I'm not an expert on the NCAA rules either, but I don't see it as a big deal, it's not like he is in Pratt pavillion watching a practice or hanging out on campus. He recruited a lot of the players there and serves as a father figure to most. Nothing wrong with him watching.

beef4davols writes:

Not shocking in the least bit...the fans actually at the game cheered and chanted BRUUUCE!!! While folks on the message board behind the computer say "MOVE ON!!"

arkyvol writes:

i can understand the resentment over the mess b.p. needlessly created and inflicted on u.t. i share it. but, i have to say that bruce was the finest pure b.ball coach u.t. had in my lifetime. (and i'm old enough to collect social security).

tennrich1 writes:

in response to osu2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not for sure what osu stands for. Surely not what I'm thinking...nah couldnt be...no one is that dumb...you've been given the benefit of the doubt...and the black sheep with no brains? that's bouncing right up to the unacceptable line dont you think!!!!

ellerbee123 writes:

LOVE BRUCE!!!

ellerbee123 writes:

in response to osu2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As a graduate of both UT and Vanderbilt and being from TN, I do not consider myself ignorant. I, however, have serious questions about you. To assume everyone from a state (and/or race) is ignorant just tends to expose your lack of, well, let's call it CLASS...

easleychuck writes:

Coach Pearl watching his son play a basketball game is fine by me. I appreciate the joy that he put into the program.

I wish the best for Coach Martin as he goes forward. Doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the revival that Coach Pearl brought to the program. On the scale of cheating, the lie that he told was a blip on the radar. No competitive advantage was gained. But he did deserve to be fired. But, please don't act like he is some plague that should be cast out. He screwed himself and hurt the program that he really cares about it in the process. I think that he has paid a very steep price.

VOLliven2it writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Martin could care less the only one going beserk is you. Lighten up. The NCAA will do what they are going to do but be certain of one thing, the only thing Pearl did different then the rest of the D1 coaches is get caught. For that he had to be let go. I wish him well and appreciate the excitement he brought while he was here.

You don't know me Ironcity. To say I'm the one going beserk is pitiful. But then if the only thing he did wrong was get caught, why did he lie about it and try to get others to join the charade? That seems to suggest more than one thing. I personally do not need to see his face and stories in our publications. I do not hate the man, I hate what happened and wish him well. Regardless of what you or others may think or desire regarding him, if he is around and we get zapped come face the music time, it is harder for us to move on. Beserk was a C-movie I watched as a kid in one of the first walk-in theatre experiences of my life. That was a terrible movie but it does not in any sense describe me.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to easleychuck:

Coach Pearl watching his son play a basketball game is fine by me. I appreciate the joy that he put into the program.

I wish the best for Coach Martin as he goes forward. Doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the revival that Coach Pearl brought to the program. On the scale of cheating, the lie that he told was a blip on the radar. No competitive advantage was gained. But he did deserve to be fired. But, please don't act like he is some plague that should be cast out. He screwed himself and hurt the program that he really cares about it in the process. I think that he has paid a very steep price.

On the scale of cheating, you won't find lying. It's not cheating if no competitive advantage was gained. Call him a liar all you want, but to say he cheated is ignorant.

VolsToTheWall writes:

He'll never go away.

charlyand#601962 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Pearl didn't lie to his boss - he lied to the sheriff. Then he recanted his lies to the sheriff and came clean to the boss - for a while.

One thing that has bothered me most is this last little incident of talking to a recruit after the fact. If you were coach and a potential recruit came up to say Hello, would you turn your back, hurt his feeings, and never have a change to recruit him ever again. And, by the way, does the NCAA really have people on payroll running around watching coaches on a day to day basis. I believe every coach in America has been guilty of some NCAA rules infractions or at least most of them have. How Gestapo of the NCAA. Bruce Pearl did a lot for the community and still has more friends than enemies, so he can live wherever he wants and attend whatever he wants. Live with it.

Voldodger writes:

It's a good thing someone ID'd Pearl's wife and daughter because I'd have never known which was which if they hadn't.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

The idiots criticizing Coach Pearl are hilarious. He is a good guy. He made mistakes. We all do. I hope he stays in Ktown forever. Before you clean out the next septic tank on your route, try to realize that we had a major coach here who was grateful to be here. And then when you eat your corn on the cob tonight with your two buck teeth through the picket fence, maybe you will learn to not be a moron. Other than that.....Have a nice day......

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to jsnewman:

Well say what you want about Pearl but I hope he lurks for years to come. He would make a great AD. Martin doesn't have much of a record and like Dooley he has allot to prove. If he fails, give Bruce the job back.

This could be possibly be the stupidest post ever plastered on this board! Pearl would make a great AD? HAHAHAHAHA, now that one is funny. You want an AD that was fired for lying to the NCAA and providing illegal benefits to potential players? Wow, you really are a moron.

samvol writes:

in response to agohn:

You're pathetic.

You're pathetic

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Martin can't be there...it's against NCAA rules.

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to newportvol:

fellow UT fans Im sometimes ashamed to be part of this fan base.. So things people will say behind a computer screen.. Shameful.. BP son you remember steven pearl? was in the championship game.. What father wouldnt go? Would you If your son was part of the game?? I think Pearl will stay in town and maybe do a little bit of radio or national tv for a couple years till the NCAA moves on.. Pearl screwed up but who hasnt? Have you ever lied to your boss? I know i have...

You should be fired, you're a liar.

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to osu2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope OSU2 doesn't imply you're an Ohio State fan, because you're post would be a really funny comment coming from you.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Good story..it's about a man and his family watching his son and sibling play ball. It has nothing to do with anything else to me.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

You used to make sense, Greer man. Not so much anymore.

TJ, my apologies man. Maybe its the Tea party thing, maybe it's that danged yankee I have for a boss. I'm not sure what it is but I tend to blurt out a bit more these days. With that said, if Pearl wants to live here and be a fan then more power to him.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Who is Bruce Pearl?

adimatteo#261830 writes:

in response to simmsagain:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen...
and caused a lot of heartache and problems for the university and community,
I for one think he should remain behind closed doors,move on

he ended up being a joke, a liar, and a lousy leader and ambassador for this university,sorry.

and for those who copmpare Fulmer having office to wind down, you have to be kidding right?
whether you were Fulmer fan or not, he didnt disgrace himself and the campus with the NCAA like the good Pearl

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Personally I think it's a bit unfair to Coach Martin for Pearl to keep lurking around the program. JMHO. But I do remember the NASTY...NASTY reaction to Fulmer having an office in the athletic department just after being fired. Oh yeah, I forgot. A coach with a National Championship and 152-52 record in your #1 sport who bleeds orange doesn't compare to an implant who came here with his slick talk and left us sitting in front of the NCAA. Double standard?

And the "I BLEED PHIL" award goes to Rich_Is_Re-born!!!

Congratulations: you used your internet prowess to be the second person to comment on this article (about BRUCE PEARL) to rehash what you perceive to be the mistreatment of Phillip Fulmer. I am in awe of your apparent disregard for relevance in your desire to proclaim your love for the former head coach of the football team with a comment attached to an article for the former head coach of the basketball team.

I salute you, and genuinely wish that Fulmer will find a head coaching job at another school. That way, you can cheer for his new team.

MothershipChip writes:

in response to newportvol:

fellow UT fans Im sometimes ashamed to be part of this fan base.. So things people will say behind a computer screen.. Shameful.. BP son you remember steven pearl? was in the championship game.. What father wouldnt go? Would you If your son was part of the game?? I think Pearl will stay in town and maybe do a little bit of radio or national tv for a couple years till the NCAA moves on.. Pearl screwed up but who hasnt? Have you ever lied to your boss? I know i have...

I agree with you 100%. I hope Bruce stays in town as he has been a really valuable member to the community. Losing his job as head coach does not also serve as a ban from Knoxville. As a person born and raised here I understand why he wouldn't want to move elsewhere, Knoxville is great! I am a Coach Zo guy through and through, and I fell like Bruce had to be fired, but that doesn't mean he should be run out of town on a rail.

Go Coach Zo

10ECBob writes:

in response to wildmed:

To me, this guy will ALWAYS mean Tennessee Basketball. He's a part of the tradition now. Thanks for the memories, Bruce.

Ditto

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