Fans voice support for Bruce Pearl at rally

Rita Roth, left, and Parker Williams, right, lead a cheer in support of Tennessee Men's Basketball head coach Bruce Pearl on the top level of the G10 parking garage Sunday, March 20, 2011.  Dozens turned out in support of Pearl whose job may be in question after a turbulent basketball season.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Rita Roth, left, and Parker Williams, right, lead a cheer in support of Tennessee Men's Basketball head coach Bruce Pearl on the top level of the G10 parking garage Sunday, March 20, 2011. Dozens turned out in support of Pearl whose job may be in question after a turbulent basketball season.

Raw video: Fans gather in support of Bruce Pearl

About 150 Tennessee fans turned out Sunday afternoon for a hastily organized pep rally held to support embattled Vols coach Bruce Pearl.

“We’re just here to show Bruce we still love him,’’ said Parker Williams, the 18-year-old student from Catholic High School who came up with the idea for the supportive gathering at the G-10 parking garage beside Thompson-Boling Arena. “We want people to know we’re standing up for him.’’

Williams got the word out about the rally 18 hours earlier via the “Keep Bruce Pearl” Facebook page on Saturday night.

Pearl’s future as UT’s men’s basketball coach is being scrutinized after Vols athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a WNML radio interview that aired last Wednesday that he didn’t know if Pearl would be retained.

Tennessee completed its season Friday with a 75-45 loss to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Charlotte, N.C.

Hamilton said Pearl will be evaluated by the UT administration before the school makes a decision on his future.

Hamilton, along with UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, previously had said Pearl would be retained as the Vols basketball coach.

“Why would you not take the chancellor of the University of Tennessee at his word?’’ said Barry Smith, a 49-year-old Knoxville resident. “I think the NCAA has reared their head and are extorting UT, saying, ‘If you keep (Pearl), you’re going to regret it.’

“What Bruce did was wrong, everybody gets that, and he’s paid a price for that . . . but he gained no competitive advantage from the violation he committed.’’

The men’s basketball program is scheduled to go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on June 10-11 and faces allegations of 10 major violations, including an unethical conduct charge against Pearl.

Pearl lied to NCAA investigators in a June 14, 2010, interview when asked about a photo taken of him at his house with Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, then a junior in high school who had made a verbal (non-binding) commitment to sign with the Vols.

Neither Pearl nor Hamilton could be reached for comment Sunday regarding the rally.

“Bruce Pearl is a good coach who made a mistake, and all of us have made mistakes,’’ said 80-year-old Donald Brackins, who has had season basketball tickets since Ray Mears was UT’s coach (1962-77).

“We now have much better basketball, and Bruce does so much for our community.’’

Rita Roth introduced herself at the rally as a breast cancer survivor who has benefited from the OUTLIVE program, which Pearl started in 2008 to increase cancer awareness. The program has raised more than $260,000 for UT Medical Center’s Cancer Institute.

“Bruce and his family have been a big part of my recovery,’’ Roth said. “And I’ve been a season-ticket holder for 15 years, and I have never loved basketball the way I love basketball now. It’s going to set the program back if they let Bruce go.’’

John Green, a 46-year-old from Jefferson City, said Tennessee won’t find another coach like Pearl.

“How many coaches would come through the stands with their players before and after games?’’ Green said. “How many coaches would paint their chest to support their women’s basketball program?

“If people can’t tell he’s sincere about Tennessee, there’s something wrong with them.’’

Vols junior Cameron Tatum showed up at the rally to visit with fans and check out the support.

“I just wanted to see what was happening, and I’ve always supported coach Pearl, so coming here was the right thing to do,’’ Tatum said. “All of us players are holding our breath to see what happens.

“We don’t have much control; everybody just wants coach Pearl to come back.’’

Even ESPN analyst Dick Vitale is advocating Pearl be retained by Tennessee.

Vitale was one of the more vocal critics when Pearl’s unethical conduct violation was made public, saying “99-percent” of the schools in the country would have fired Pearl immediately.

On Friday, however, Vitale used his Twitter account to tweet: “Pearl’s kids love playing 4 him & he has accepted blame 4 his actions. With obvious penalty I now feel he deserves 2nd chance.’’

UT’s self-imposed penalties included Pearl losing $1.5 million in salary and being suspended from recruiting off campus for a year. SEC commissioner Mike Slive suspended Pearl for eight league games.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 292

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

150 people? Not sure what to make of that.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

completely OT...

anyone notice the FT's For for both DUke and UNC?? Something like a 2-1 or 3-1 ratio?? Unreal.

IdahoVol writes:

Would have been there with a little more notice since I live in Nashville.
Pearl has owned up to his lie and violations, taken his penalties like a man. (Tressel should take lessons from him.) He will clearly deal with any penalties the NCAA deals out. Keep him and let's move forward. Go Bruce and Go Big Orange!

UK2K writes:

As a neutral party in this, it seems to me Pearl won't survive this but he has owned up to his mistakes like a man. Just don't see how he will be retained with the NCAA waiting to pounce.

voloffaith writes:

in response to dead_vol_foul:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah it was slang But the taking of Lord's name in my book is defamatory/abusive. You could have made your points without lowering the bar to slug level. Yes I know you and I disagree,but this is not personal against you,but rather your inappropriate slang/cursing of my Lord made it personal in another context.

Again your points are NOT the issue,just your poor judgement in descriptive terms.

On topic, 150 people impromptu isn't that much,but a nice gesture. Tobias Harris's father stating if Coach Pearl is gone so his son will be also.My doesn't that stir the pot a bit?

VOLDoll writes:

in response to esarmstrong#231516:

150 people? Not sure what to make of that.

Are you serious! More people would show up if you were giving away free donuts!
Just goes to show that more people than not want his sorry asz out of Knoxville.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

A complete travesty for both Cheek and Hamilton to state that UT will support Pearl and hopes he coaches for several years. They are bigger liars than Pearl. The NCAA is coercing the univ. to basically fry Pearl and ruin his coaching career.

cbeam13 writes:

decision is ultimately up to ncaa, not hamilton or UT administration. if ncaa decides to impose harsh penalties, bruce has to go. nobody is bigger than name on front of jersey, even bruce...

JoeB writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

Are you serious! More people would show up if you were giving away free donuts!
Just goes to show that more people than not want his sorry asz out of Knoxville.

You're an idiot. That rally was put together by a high school kid. Props to that kid but unless you hang around HS crowds, which you just might, you wouldn't have known about it.

RoadTrip writes:

The crowd pf 150 must have counted the media and interested passers-by based on media footage during the newscasts here in Knoxville.

It's time for the circus to pull up stakes and move on.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to UK2K:

As a neutral party in this, it seems to me Pearl won't survive this but he has owned up to his mistakes like a man. Just don't see how he will be retained with the NCAA waiting to pounce.

If I was a Kentucky fan I would want his asz to stay as well. Heck Pearl couldnt beat you guys when you were coached by the drunk Texan and were horrible.

everydayisorange writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

Are you serious! More people would show up if you were giving away free donuts!
Just goes to show that more people than not want his sorry asz out of Knoxville.

I know that you don't like what Pearl has done with the lies and investagation, but what is the real reason behind all the hate?

agentorange writes:

I like Bruce Pearl. He must be fired, though. He lied, tried to cover it up, got caught, said he was sorry AND THEN COMMITTED ANOTHER VIOLATION. End of story. No brainer. There are other people who can coach b-ball out there.

No brainer on firing Hamilton too. He's ushered in losing football and baseball and a big fat NCAA investigation. He is marketing fool that is hellbent on selling out every part of the university in order to make a buck. This is what happens when you get priorities out of whack.

Laydbakvol writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

Are you serious! More people would show up if you were giving away free donuts!
Just goes to show that more people than not want his sorry asz out of Knoxville.

Smalldoll, I don't know who you are, but you obviously live on another planet. If I had known about it I would have been there, and so would a few thousand others. Pearl has said and done all of the right things and continues to own up to what he did. Never once has he tried to excuse his conduct like so many other coaches who have done far worse have. I can only hope the persons responsible for his future listen to the fans and use their common sense instead of relying on some Talking Head's biased opinion.

rockytoplady writes:

in response to givim6:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree! Conredge Holloway!

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

Keep Pearl/fire Hamilton

bigdisbig writes:

I am a UT alumni and I have supported Tennessee football and basketball in the past with donations, ticket purchases and apparel purchases. I REFUSE to give another dime to UT Sports until Hamilton is fired. He is a cancer to the university. Haslam can give my part from now on. I am done!

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Yeah it was slang But the taking of Lord's name in my book is defamatory/abusive. You could have made your points without lowering the bar to slug level. Yes I know you and I disagree,but this is not personal against you,but rather your inappropriate slang/cursing of my Lord made it personal in another context.

Again your points are NOT the issue,just your poor judgement in descriptive terms.

On topic, 150 people impromptu isn't that much,but a nice gesture. Tobias Harris's father stating if Coach Pearl is gone so his son will be also.My doesn't that stir the pot a bit?

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

everydayisorange writes:

in response to agentorange:

I like Bruce Pearl. He must be fired, though. He lied, tried to cover it up, got caught, said he was sorry AND THEN COMMITTED ANOTHER VIOLATION. End of story. No brainer. There are other people who can coach b-ball out there.

No brainer on firing Hamilton too. He's ushered in losing football and baseball and a big fat NCAA investigation. He is marketing fool that is hellbent on selling out every part of the university in order to make a buck. This is what happens when you get priorities out of whack.

Who would you like as coach and who do you think UT can get with this cloud hanging over the program?

VOLDoll writes:

in response to JoeB:

You're an idiot. That rally was put together by a high school kid. Props to that kid but unless you hang around HS crowds, which you just might, you wouldn't have known about it.

I believe it was put together by a high school kid because any adult with an ounce of integrity wants the cheating, lying, non coaching hypocrite out of Knoxville.
So no I definitely believe it was a little kid.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

I am a UT alumni and I have supported Tennessee football and basketball in the past with donations, ticket purchases and apparel purchases. I REFUSE to give another dime to UT Sports until Hamilton is fired. He is a cancer to the university. Haslam can give my part from now on. I am done!

Totally agree, anybody that hires both Kiffin and Pearl should not be forgiven. Maybe hiring just one of them, but to hire two men that have nearly brought down our beloved sports department should be fired.

tnsportsman writes:

FIRE MIKE HAMILTON and KEEP BRUCE PEARL! To UT Pres and UT Chancellor do the RIGHT THING and retain Pearl! David Blackburn or Phillip Fulmer would make a GREAT AD at TENNESSEE! Both are VOLS FOR LIFE and ALL TENNESSEE!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!
VFL!

ellerbee123 writes:

in response to esarmstrong#231516:

150 people? Not sure what to make of that.

Kids not back from spring break. Coming in this evening.

everydayisorange writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Obviously, you don't understand the bump rule! If CBP had stayed and talked to the recruit, that would be a major violation.As it is, this is a secondary violation to which he had NO CONTROL OVER. If you bump into someone that you know and knew it could cost you jail time what would you do?

Laydbakvol writes:

People are supporting Bruce Pearl, not because of the Win/Loss Column, but because of the excitement that he's brought back to UT Basketball and of the support he's given back to the community. A lot of people (myself included) did not really express any real interest in the Vol's basketball program until he came along, and if he is forced out under these circumstances many will lose interest again.

wildmed writes:

No doubt, Pearl made a bad choice in lying and then trying to convince others to help in the coverup. But a lot of people act like ANY violation deserves the electric chair. Jaywalking is not the same as drunk driving. Let the man graciously accept his fate, along with the considerable punishment, unprecedented I might add, he's already endured and then let's move Tennessee basketball foward with Bruce Pearl as our coach. I like what he brings to the table, not just at Thompson-Boling Arena but throughout the community. The man is an asset!

agohn writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

I believe it was put together by a high school kid because any adult with an ounce of integrity wants the cheating, lying, non coaching hypocrite out of Knoxville.
So no I definitely believe it was a little kid.

There goes the blow up doll again...over inflated as usual. You definitely should win the "just shut up" award every time you speak from your already open hole of a mouth. Zing!

wildmed writes:

...and by the way: more Tennessee basketball players have graduated in his tenure than the previous four coaches combined!

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

Obviously, you don't understand the bump rule! If CBP had stayed and talked to the recruit, that would be a major violation.As it is, this is a secondary violation to which he had NO CONTROL OVER. If you bump into someone that you know and knew it could cost you jail time what would you do?

I do understand the bump rule. Bruce DID talk to the kid for around 3 minutes, and he had COMPLETE control over it. He thumbed his nose at the UT administration and the NCAA, and he will pay dearly for it. He will be fired by Wednesday

tnlaxer writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

Obviously, you don't understand the bump rule! If CBP had stayed and talked to the recruit, that would be a major violation.As it is, this is a secondary violation to which he had NO CONTROL OVER. If you bump into someone that you know and knew it could cost you jail time what would you do?

The bump violation was not good, but what was worse was that he didn't report it to Hamilton. He had to find out from the NCAA...

Our program will never be the best it can be without character, honestly, and integrity. What top recruits parents are going to entrust there son with Coach Pearl when compared to the coaches at Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Michigan State, etc...

The program is bigger than Pearl...

Have faith...

VFL

VOLDoll writes:

in response to tnlaxer:

The bump violation was not good, but what was worse was that he didn't report it to Hamilton. He had to find out from the NCAA...

Our program will never be the best it can be without character, honestly, and integrity. What top recruits parents are going to entrust there son with Coach Pearl when compared to the coaches at Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Michigan State, etc...

The program is bigger than Pearl...

Have faith...

VFL

AMEN! Finally someone that gets it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dvols writes:

ncaa + basketball = $$$$$

ncaa + football = ...... (oh ncaa does not get paid during bowl season) hahahaha

hey dummies..give me one good reason why Pearl should be fired?

i get more embarrassed by women's bball than i ever would men's!

orangeblood8456 writes:

if they begin firing people for lying and cheating nobody will have a job. cbp and his staff are one of the best in the ncaa.

JBruce writes:

He knew the rules, but yet he chose to break them. Sure you can say that everyone breaks the rules; but they aren't in trouble because they didn't get caught. Bruce was caught and questioned about it. Bruce then chose to break another rule, a more important violation. He lied to the governing body. He SHOULD have been fired IMMEDIATELY. As Vitale stated, 99% of schools would have fired him. Tennessee chose to stick with him. Yes, they punished him; but they chose to stick with him, come what may. What is happening now, has little to do with Bruce Pearl; it has more to do with the pitiful decision making by the leadership body at UTK. Whoever is making the decision whether it is Hamilton or Haslam is making a huge mistake. No respectable coach will want to take a job where you offer 100% support and then do a complete 180. This move will set UT basketball back for decades. You chose to stick with Pearl, NOW STICK WITH HIM!

schymtz writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

I know that you don't like what Pearl has done with the lies and investagation, but what is the real reason behind all the hate?

Excellent Question! VolDoll won't answer it honestly or at all, but an excellent question. Maybe the NCAA could ask her. Wonder if VolDoll would give them a straight answer.

orangeblood8456 writes:

honey, if you read this, i was talking about other coaches!!!

wildmed writes:

in response to JBruce:

He knew the rules, but yet he chose to break them. Sure you can say that everyone breaks the rules; but they aren't in trouble because they didn't get caught. Bruce was caught and questioned about it. Bruce then chose to break another rule, a more important violation. He lied to the governing body. He SHOULD have been fired IMMEDIATELY. As Vitale stated, 99% of schools would have fired him. Tennessee chose to stick with him. Yes, they punished him; but they chose to stick with him, come what may. What is happening now, has little to do with Bruce Pearl; it has more to do with the pitiful decision making by the leadership body at UTK. Whoever is making the decision whether it is Hamilton or Haslam is making a huge mistake. No respectable coach will want to take a job where you offer 100% support and then do a complete 180. This move will set UT basketball back for decades. You chose to stick with Pearl, NOW STICK WITH HIM!

Amen, bro!

CCLC writes:

," I've made mistakes, I clearly did, but what I was hoping for was that some other dumbazz would get on the front page and take me off the hook. I miss Lane Kiffin." BP

Classic

drummerhill writes:

150 is not the issue. It is why we need to keep Bruce Pearl! The best six basketball years we have had in a LONG time.

tnlady39 writes:

I wish there was a rally planned,They would have to have the football stadium opened to hold all the people that backs coach Pearl.He is so loved by the fans.

volinuptonky writes:

Pat Summitt for AD

1vavolfan writes:

in response to esarmstrong#231516:

150 people? Not sure what to make of that.

This was organized in less than 18 hours. The only way it was promoted was through Twitter last night when most people were in bed. No media involved at all, kids away on spring break. Get KNS and local TV to promote a rally for 2-3 days and you would get 1500. I live 90 minutes away and would have come if I had known sooner.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to schymtz:

Excellent Question! VolDoll won't answer it honestly or at all, but an excellent question. Maybe the NCAA could ask her. Wonder if VolDoll would give them a straight answer.

R U serious? I've stated on here many times that the man reeks of being unethical and I am not even going to bring up his personal life. I care more about the integrity of the institution more than I care about a coach that wins a few basketball games.
I am telling all Vol fans to becareful what you wish for. Pearl has gotten to the elite 8, whoopty do. A lot of smallers schools have accomplished that and even more in the last 5 years. He won when the league was at it's worse with the exception of Florida during their run. Now that the league is getting stronger Pearls lack of coaching will shine threw even more. Heck Scotty Hopson is proof that kids dont improve under him.
He has ZERO tourney titles here at UT and that is a shame considering Kentucky and the rest of the league was pretty damn horrible during his first 4 years.
I want him gone for two reasons, he is not a good representative of this university and he sucks as a coach IMHO.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to tnlady39:

I wish there was a rally planned,They would have to have the football stadium opened to hold all the people that backs coach Pearl.He is so loved by the fans.

LOL! Dream on!

Orange_since_84 writes:

Unfortunately, regardless of what UT does with Pearl following the "review", the fat lady doesn't even start to clear her throat until June. I fear that the earlier post about extortion by the NCAA is absolutely on the mark.

Huttdawg100 writes:

Someone made a post on Scout, and it seems very informative.

http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=7&...

For those who don't have scout, here's a quick summary of what the post said:
There was a meeting after the Florida football game last fall where Haslam, the Board of Trustees, and some other big time boosters met and discussed Pearl's fate. Haslam and Hamilton both supported Pearl, and therefore he was safe until the NCAA discovered that Pearl was not going to lose his job. Upset that Pearl was not going to lose his job and that he would be able to recruit, the NCAA then followed Pearl's every move hoping to get something else (anything) that would signal the end of Pearl's run at UT. That's when the NCAA found out about the "Bump". UT only found out about the bump because UT had lawyered up and a guy uncovered what the NCAA had found. UT confronted Pearl. Pearl said he didn't report it to the compliance office because it was literally a 30 second conversation and he did not know it was a violation. It turns out that the "bump" was the straw that broke the camels back.

The post goes on to say that Hamilton was actually trying to save Pearl up until the end of February/ first of March, when his (hamilton's) bosses laid down the law that Pearl was not coming back no matter what. Hamilton looks a lot different after reading this. The whole thing is depressing. I love Coach Pearl. I want him to stay, but it now appears that this will not happen.

Outdated writes:

The best thing for the future of UT basketall..Keep Pearl..Fire Hamilton..Worst thing for UT..Keep Hamilton ..Fire Pearl..most likely happening..both will be fired..TN has no choice but to try to stop the circus and get a basketball coach..Dooley has gained SOLID support for his efforts to rebuild the football program..The same can be done in basketball if it has to be...

jdcdjc writes:

in response to volinuptonky:

Pat Summitt for AD

I would vote for that in a NY minute.

Also, there are probably a dozen schools out there just hopeing UT is stupid enough to let Bruce go, and when they do they will jump all over it. He will not be without a job 6 months!

Mickyward writes:

Nice of those folks, however Pearl has painted a bullseye on his backside for the NCAA to line their sites up on. UT doesn't need more trouble with the NCAA, Pearl must go, and hopefully he hasn't left other NCAA violations at UTs door step for the NCAA to discover.

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