In fact, they're doing their time in style.
Bruce Pearl was back in a gym Thursday, his enthusiasm radiating to 100 campers.
The gym was at Alcoa High School. Pearl's host was the Alcoa boys' coach, Tony Jones.
Are you going to coach again, I asked Pearl?
"I am coaching,'' Pearl shot back.
"I've got a sales managers meeting next week and I'm gonna be coaching.''
Pearl and his staff were dismissed at Tennessee in March 2011 in the wake of an NCAA investigation. Then the NCAA hit them with a show-cause sanction for not being forthcoming during the investigation.
A show-cause is essentially a ban from coaching at an NCAA school. Pearl got three years. His assistants, Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay, got one year each.
Forbes landed a head-coaching gig at a top-rung junior college, Northwest Florida. He hired Shay. They went 30-2 and lost in the national juco tournament championship game.
Jones took the Alcoa job, won 30 games and coached the Tornadoes to the semifinals of the state tournament. He was our PrepXtra Coach of the Year.
The assistants' show-
cause expires Aug. 22. Forbes has had offers to return to the big leagues but apparently will stick with a good program and an appealing Gulf-side lifestyle at Northwest Florida for at least another year.
Jones had longed to captain his own ship. He had mid-major feelers (as an assistant) but plans to be back at Alcoa.
"They've given me everything I asked for,'' he said. "I could see myself being here for years to come.''
What about Pearl? His penalty has two years to run yet.
"I have a full-time job,'' he said.
That would be coaching in the business world.
Pearl is vice president of marketing at H.T. Hackney Company, a wholesale grocery owned by UT booster Bill Sansom.
It wasn't a gratuitous hire. Pearl was a marketing major at Boston College. His promotional skills were as instrumental as his coaching acumen in resurrecting UT's program.
Pearl says he's all-in with Hackney. The position allowed him to stay in Knoxville, which is still home to his four children.
Hackney also allows Pearl to pursue media opportunities. He's been doing radio and hopes to join ESPN for the coming season. Nothing official yet.
"I want to see if I'm any good at calling games and being in studio,'' he said. "I want to see if the lifestyle fits and the travel is OK. I want to see if it fits with what I'm doing with Hackney.''
And if it does all fit, if it's enough, Pearl might not feel compelled to return to the bench.
"Coaching was just part of what I did at Tennessee,'' Pearl said. "I don't want to be defined by my won-loss record. (His won-loss record, by the way, was outstanding.)
"I don't know that I want coaching to continue to decide where is home. This is home.''
Knoxville, he means. But not Thompson-Boling Arena. That's Cuonzo Martin's home now. Pearl expresses admiration for his successor as a role model and a coach.
"We have a good relationship,'' Pearl said.
"I'm proud to be the former coach at the University of Tennessee. But I thought it was very important I kept my distance.''
He's got two more years to keep his distance from any job that requires NCAA approval — should he, in the end, want one. The bet here is he will get the chance.
Jones, Forbes and Shay, meanwhile, measure their time in weeks.
It would be unfair to minimize the hits the NCAA ordeal administered to their paychecks or to their career tracks.
But each in his own way landed on his feet. There has been life after Tennessee.