Tennessee fires coach Bruce Pearl

University of Tennessee basketball head coach  Bruce Pearl talks to the media during an NCAA press conference in Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Pearl was fired on Monday March 21, 2011 by the university.

Photo by Adam Brimer

University of Tennessee basketball head coach Bruce Pearl talks to the media during an NCAA press conference in Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Pearl was fired on Monday March 21, 2011 by the university.

Fans react to Tennessee's firing of coach Bruce Pearl

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The University of Tennessee fired men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl on Monday, ending six days of increased speculation about his job status with a program facing NCAA allegations of 10 major violations.

Pearl, 51, coached the Vols the past six seasons, compiling a 145-61 record. He led the team to a school-record six consecutive NCAA tournaments, including the first Elite Eight appearance in the 102-year history of the program last season.

Tennessee started this season 7-0 and peaked with a No. 7 national ranking in mid-December before finishing 19-15.

The Vols' fade was accentuated by its season-ending 75-45 loss to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday - the most-lopsided margin of defeat in Pearl's tenure.

Pearl came under fire when the NCAA delivered a Letter of Inquiry to the school on Sept. 10, 2010.

Athletic director Mike Hamilton announced on that day that Pearl would likely face an unethical conduct charge on account of a June 14, 2010 interview with the NCAA during which he provided false and misleading testimony.

When shown a picture of him and Ohio State freshman Aaron Craft – then a junior in high school who at the time had made a verbal (non-binding) commitment to UT – Pearl said he didn't know where the picture was taken.

The picture was taken at Pearl's house on Sept. 20, 2008, and served as proof of what's usually a secondary violation; unofficial visitors aren't allowed to have off-campus contact with members of the coaching staff.

Pearl tearfully apologized in the Sept. 10 press conference, and UT stepped in with severe, unprecedented self-imposed penalties.

Pearl's contract was terminated, his salary was reduced $1.5 million over the next five seasons and he was banned from off-campus recruiting for a year, effective Sept. 24, 2010.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive announced on Nov. 19, 2010, that he was suspending Pearl for the first half (eight games) of the league season.

Hamilton and UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek said at the time the school was standing behind Pearl, even if it turned out that the NCAA was going to suspend him from coaching for a year, as had been the precedent for providing misleading testimony.

When UT revealed the Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA on Feb. 23, the men's basketball program stood accused of 10 major violations.

The only violation that had not previously been made public involved a Sept. 14 “bump violation,'' during which the NCAA Enforcement Staff deemed that Pearl had made excessive incidental contact with a recruit at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

Two sources told the News Sentinel that UT planned to appeal the violation, as Pearl and Vols associate head coach Tony Jones said the unplanned contact did not exceed what's generally considered acceptable – 30 to 45 seconds.

Hamilton tipped fans and media off in an interview that aired last Wednesday that UT's stance on Pearl had changed, as the school was no longer sure it would stand behind the embattled coach.

More details as they develop.

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Comments » 613

uttcut writes:

I hate this

bUTchVFL writes:

Sad ending to a sad situation.

Bigger_Al writes:

Dark day. Very disappointed.

Vol737 writes:

I'll be damned...1st.

nwcs writes:

It seemed like it was only a matter of time. If they were going to do it, they should have done it months ago.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Damn.

samvol writes:

Gone!!!!

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

That totally S-U-X-!!

tmartin writes:

GET BRAD STEVENS ASAP

37803Vol writes:

Bring back FULMER for AD!

LittleLiza writes:

Sad day for TN fans...

CockeCountyNative writes:

U chicken phooey b's if Hamilton doesn't go also.

miketn6 writes:

I love Bruce and hate that this happened, but it had to be done. Damn it.

Vol737 writes:

in response to Vol737:

I'll be damned...1st.

oops....not. This is too bad though. The sad part is, Pear is a good X's and O's coach. Did not have to cheat and lie. Back to irrelevance.

ElConquistador writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

U are a dummy. Hope you like your new coach Houston Fancher..

bUTchVFL writes:

Every coach would have used Pearl in negative recruiting until he was gone. As much as I hate to see him go ( I was a trainer on Wade Houston's 5-22 team) Bruce has no one to blame than himself. Good luck Coach. I'll throw out the first name. Matt Painter from Purdue. Way underpaid at Purdue.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

NO, HAMILTONS HEAD NEEDS TO BE NEXT FOR YOUR POST TO BE HALF TRUE.

TommyJack writes:

Admn. has no ballz.

Malloryjoy8 writes:

FIRE HAMILTON!

Malloryjoy8 writes:

in response to Malloryjoy8:

FIRE HAMILTON!

HAMILTON*

spacificislander writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you own a hair salon?

westknoxrepub writes:

RIP Tennessee Basketball

holleyab writes:

THIS IS BAD Volnation.... not only have we lost probably one of the ten best coaches today, we are also losing a fantastic staff, and finally, our two best players.... not to mention the two recruits we have. I will be damned if UT even breaks .500 next year. We love you Bruce, i can't wait to see you in the final four with another team.

tnseamstress writes:

It's a very sad day for the UT men's basketball team but Mr. Pearl did it to himself. So very, very disappointed. All I got to say is GO LADY VOLS BEAT MARQUETTE!

jacknox22#366020 writes:

I regrest to inform UT that because of their actions I will not keep my season tickets or support the AD in any manner. I think I am the first of many that will feel that way and let us see if a reduction in income from the sports programs can get Mike Hamilton out of Tennessee!!!!!!

FrostyVol writes:

dust off the black curtains. Hope all you holier than thou Pearl bashers are happy! And I expect to hear from every single one of you about how happy you are 5 years from now when we are still waiting for our next tournament bid. He wasnt perfect. He made mistakes. But he did a TON for this school and our community. Sad, sad day.

dontfeedthemikey writes:

Not one of the smarter moments in UT history. Bruce is the main reason why UT basketball is one of the top programs in the last couple of years.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to tmartin:

GET BRAD STEVENS ASAP

Not going to happen. We'll hire Rick Byrd (SOS 261) and suffer through four years of Buzz Ball part 2.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to nwcs:

It seemed like it was only a matter of time. If they were going to do it, they should have done it months ago.

Agreed. Looks like now that they just bled him slowly.

TheFuj writes:

in response to Vol737:

oops....not. This is too bad though. The sad part is, Pear is a good X's and O's coach. Did not have to cheat and lie. Back to irrelevance.

He definitely is not a good X's and O's coach. High energy and communicator, but definitely not X's and O's.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

It'll be interesting to know who was totally vocal in this decision...........prob not Hamilton alone. If it were he alone, he would be next. He should be next anyway, regardless.

Hopefully, this won't be a distraction for the Lady Vols.........timing has been the pits with announcements lately.

Hacksaw57 writes:

Hamilton stabbed him in the back to save his own skin. SAD..

cc623 writes:

worst mistake they will make...

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

Every coach would have used Pearl in negative recruiting until he was gone. As much as I hate to see him go ( I was a trainer on Wade Houston's 5-22 team) Bruce has no one to blame than himself. Good luck Coach. I'll throw out the first name. Matt Painter from Purdue. Way underpaid at Purdue.

Painter's not leaving the alma matter he was hand picked to run, and we're not going to pay much more.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's "riddance", Mr. Perfect.

Homermoosevols writes:

Well, time to go back to the cellar which is SEC basketball. Brad Stevens is locked up the next 13 years plus why would he want to leave Bulter? Horizon League is really weak even weaker than the SEC West. Ziiiiinger! See ya Bruce, I'll miss your brightly colored orange hairy chest with man boobs.

vol494 writes:

All I can think about is that one Saturday night, primetime ESPN. UT takes down Memphis in their place and takes over the #1 spot in the nation. Thanks for the memories CBP!

utclassof1992 writes:

Now if they will just add Hamilton's name to the list, we just might have some integrity on the Hill again. Good riddance to lying, cheating trash. Have not felt this good since the day the Lane Train left.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to Malloryjoy8:

FIRE HAMILTON!

Dumbarse, Cheeks is the person who did the firing. Hamilton is on Bruce's side.

bishopbc#492049 writes:

Back to the dark ages for TN basketball. The spineless President and Trustees and Hamilton must go as well.

cbbowlingmd writes:

in response to spacificislander:

Do you own a hair salon?

Nail salon I think.

Jadedvolsfan writes:

Well thank you Mr. Hamilton. First your one man wrecking crew in Lame Kiffen resulted in setting back our football program at least 5 years. Now getting rid of the best thing to happen to the basketball program?? You just single handedly sent it back into the land of not even getting NIT invites..Cheers. Keep up the phooey job. Why your at it, how bout cleaning out CPS and her staff if they don't get title IX this year?

CTVol writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Can't wait to say the same thing about you when you get fired from your current job (if you have one).

TDTennesseeisfree writes:

Now, we should all gather around and FORCE hamilton out. He may be a great business manager but a horrible athletic director! send him back to Clemson.

stevefrommemphis writes:

Well, odds are high that Thompson-Boling Arena is headed back toward being an empty white elephant.

Now that Tennessee has moved to clean up its athletic image, they can concentrate on doing some work on the school's consistently mediocre academic performance.

They can start by camping out at every top private school in Tennessee and seeking to recruit the very best students in the State. I knew a kid last year (no relation to me) who was a National Merit Finalist, a football player, one of the top academic and most popular students in his grade at one of the best private schools in Tennessee, and the University gave him the run-around and he went out of State. Typical. I've seen it again and again.

UT administration should have a lot more important things to worry about than a few sanctions from the NCAA regarding athletics, which is supposed to merely be the "front porch" of the university.

MidTennVol writes:

After 40 years, I am done with University of Tennessee athletics.

mlpmal writes:

Hope Hamilton is fired! What a dummy! Announcing any potential action against Coach Pearl right before the game was completely stupid. Coach Pearl got people interested in UT basketball, I hope that doesn't fall by the wayside!

edvol writes:

one down. now need hamilton gone

dpurvis#244593 writes:

If you fire Pearl you have to fire Hamilton. Hamilton was in charge during both Kiffen's and Pearl's violations!!!

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

in response to FrostyVol:

dust off the black curtains. Hope all you holier than thou Pearl bashers are happy! And I expect to hear from every single one of you about how happy you are 5 years from now when we are still waiting for our next tournament bid. He wasnt perfect. He made mistakes. But he did a TON for this school and our community. Sad, sad day.

You're forgetting about the skyboxes that were put in. No curtains needed up there now. You see, Bruce's imprint on the program will save us money on curtains now.

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