Tennessee coordinator of video scouting Houston Fancher has been promoted to interim head men's basketball coach in the wake of Bruce Pearl's firing on Monday.
Fancher, 45, took a graduate assistant position on the Vols coaching staff roughly two years ago after serving as Appalachian State's head coach from 2000-2009 and spent the past season as the coordinator of video scouting.
“If there's anything I want to get across, it's not about me accepting a position, it's about me being here during the transition for the players,'' Fancher told the News Sentinel late Monday afternoon. “The first thing I did when Mike (Hamilton) offered me this opportunity was to call coach (Bruce) Pearl, and he gave me his blessing to do this.''
Hamilton met with UT players who have eligibility remaining on Monday afternoon after he had fired Pearl in a closed-door meeting at his office in the Stokely Athletics Center.
Assistant coaches Jason Shay, Steve Forbes and Tony Jones later met with Hamilton at his office, where they were relieved of their duties.
Fancher said his 24 years of coaching experience enables him to make sure the players' needs are being met as UT begins its search for a new head coach.
“I told the team today, I'm going to remember Bruce Pearl for the great things he did for Tennessee basketball and the opportunities he provided,'' said Fancher, who met with the team Monday afternoon. “My job now is to keep everyone on task; it's not easy for the kids to deal with the insecurities they face all of the sudden.
“They need someone they trust and feel comfortable with, and Mike (Hamilton) felt I was someone who could fill that position.''
Fancher grew up a Tennessee Vols fan in Newport, roughly an hour from the Knoxville campus.
“Bruce Pearl has done for UT basketball what I hoped as a fan growing up that someone could do,'' Fancher said, “and for that, he needs to be applauded.''