The anatomy of second chances: Former assistants pursue life after Tennessee

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL
Former University of Tennessee assistant men’s basketball coach Tony Jones at his home on Thursday.

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL Former University of Tennessee assistant men’s basketball coach Tony Jones at his home on Thursday.

Booming over the din of a lunchtime rush, Tony Jones hit a new octave. Heads turned one by one.

“What?”

“Seriously?”

“No way, man.”

There was no telling whether the news coming from the iPhone was traumatic or triumphant. Onlookers tugged attention back to their burgers. “OK, OK, OK ” Jones continued, nodding to no beat.

Then

“Well that’s great, man, I’m so happy for you.”

Sweet relief.

Jason Shay, Jones’ former co-worker at the University of Tennessee, was on the line. He delivered the four magic words: I got a job.

“This is huge,” Jones said, hanging up, barely looking up, instantly poking the screen, shooting out text messages.

Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes

Jason Shay

Jason Shay

“First Forbes, now Shay,” he said, eyes trained downward.

Twenty-four hours earlier, news broke regarding another former co-worker. Steve Forbes had scored an assistant coaching gig at Wichita State.

Jones was thrilled for both. He was thrilled for himself, too. A cloud that he says “shadows all the good things we did” is slowly inching toward the horizon.

“It’s (expletive) awesome, I’m telling you,” Jones said. “This is awesome.”

For more than two years, Jones, Forbes and Shay have walked knee-deep in the churn of an unshakable past. They, along with their boss, basketball coach Bruce Pearl, were fired at Tennessee in March 2011. The fallout of a public, divisive NCAA investigation was each receiving a one year show-cause sanction and Pearl being hit with a three-year punishment.

A show-cause serves ostensibly as a ban. While the penalty is in place, an athletic department must show the NCAA cause for hiring the perpetrator.

For the assistants, the one-year sentence came and went. None returned to Division I coaching. Jones toiled along as Alcoa High School’s coach, choosing to stay in Knoxville while his daughter finished her degree at UT. Forbes and Shay stuck it out at a highly regarded junior college, Northwest Florida; Forbes as the coach, Shay as an assistant.

Second chances don’t come easy.

Finally, an epochal victory came this week.

---

“I’d rather it not be out there,” a hesitant voice said. “I just don’t want to screw anything up.”

At the moment, Jason Shay prefers to not publicly name the Division I program he’s expecting to join, except to label it a Big Sky Conference team.

It’s reluctance due to experience.

Shay thought he had Division I jobs lined up twice before — once at a Sun Belt Conference program, once at another Big Sky school. Each time, the coach bringing him on board saw the hire axed by a university administrator.

“For some athletic directors or (university) presidents, there’s that leeriness,” said Shay, who was Pearl’s lead scout at UT, helping guide the Vols to six NCAA tournament appearances. “They just don’t want it. They’re not comfortable taking the chance so they’d rather just avoid it.”

He’s confident this recent offer has legs.

“It’s about relationships and trust,” he continued. “You build those relationships and hope that someone is willing to stick their neck out for you and give you an opportunity.”

Jones too has seen opportunities wrenched away. It wasn’t willed ignorance that prompted him to step down as Alcoa’s coach this spring. He thought he was walking through a revolving door to an assistant coaching job in the Big East.

That backfired when an athletic director snuffed out the hire. The same letdowns have occurred twice since. An eastern mid-major school broke his heart, followed by a midwest mid-major.

“I don’t know if I was naïve, but after the show-cause penalty expired I thought (a new job) was a foregone conclusion, not knowing that some schools would have the mentality that a guy who had previous violations wouldn’t be welcomed,” Jones said.

After Forbes landed at Wichita State this week, Jones text messaged him congratulations. After some back and forth, Jones lamented over job prospects that came and went.

“I feel your pain,” Forbes responded.

---

“Just see what you can do with these,” Bruce Pearl said. “I think color-coding the map might be best, but you do what you think is best.”

Handed a fistful of files, the H.T. Hackney Company secretary responded, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, left, signs a jersey for Sarah Barton before the BMAze Celebrity Basketball game at Hardin Valley Academy. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

Photo by Wade Payne, © 2013 The Knoxville News Sentinel

Former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, left, signs a jersey for Sarah Barton before the BMAze Celebrity Basketball game at Hardin Valley Academy. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

“OK, let’s see how good you can be,” the old coach said.

Pacing down the hallway like he did the orange sideline at Thompson-Boling Arena, Pearl looks the part of a competent, confident vice president of marketing for a $4 billion company.

“This is my world now,” he says. “I’m in with both feet.”

And they rest in mirror-still waters. Unlike his former assistants, a second chance isn’t an applicable option. Pearl’s show-cause doesn’t expire until August 2014.

So the fourth-winningest coach in UT history splits time between H.T. Hackney, a wholesale grocery distribution firm headquartered in Knoxville, and an analyst job at ESPN.

A year from now, who knows?

In the here and now, Pearl says his former assistants being hired is “a significant positive step.”

“I’m just happy for them and their families,” he added. “It’s been so difficult and this whole thing hurt so many people and hurt so many families. Obviously I am responsible for much of it and feel really bad about how I led this group and how I let them down. I’m just thrilled that they’re able to bounce back and have success.”

---

Shay, Jones and Forbes all received their show-cause violations for not being “forthcoming” in the NCAA’s investigation of UT.

All three faced cornered desperation back in 2010 when presented with the now-infamous picture of Pearl and current Ohio State guard Aaron Craft at a barbecue. If any had identified the photo as being at Pearl’s house, which it was, he’d caste a disloyal die — an absolute no-no in this business. Not being forthcoming was the alternative.

But that’s all in the past. No one is interested in rehashing those ashes.

The old fire, though, leaves lingering smoke.

---

The anatomy of a second chance is dissected by discernment.

In collegiate athletics, vetting those deserving a rebirth falls to coaches, athletic directors and university administrators. All risk their own skin by tabbing an individual with “a past.”

“(The show-cause) is still a significant hurdle to get over,” said ESPN college basketball analyst and former Duke player Jay Bilas. “It’s not the idea of forgiveness. I think most people are willing to do that. I think the problem is when you’re dealing with an organization like the NCAA, they have a long memory. There’s a perception that (a program) will draw more attention to (itself) by hiring someone who was subject to the show-cause. All of a sudden, everything will be looked at and scrutinized by the office in Indianapolis.”

Fair or not, that’s reality.

Second Chances: Defeating the stigma of the NCAA show-cause

Only coaches are subject to receiving a show-cause for misdeeds. No athletic directors feel its wrath. No university president need fear it. The penalty is meant to inhibit a coach violating NCAA rules from hopping ponds to another job, leaving a mess in the wake.

The prejudicial catch is no circumstance is ever the same. Whether it’s Pearl, Forbes, Shay or Jones, all are conjoined by one set of facts: They were at Tennessee in 2010. They broke the rules. They got fired. They all received show-cause penalties.

“The offense at Tennessee was so small — guys losing their jobs over a barbecue — but the sense of perspective is often lost in those cases,” said Sporting News college basketball columnist Mike DeCourcy. “The lazy people lump them all together and that’s not a reasonable course.”

But one that’s traveled nonetheless. Forbes was hired at Wichita State because Gregg Marshall boasts the carte blanche of a 2013 Final Four appearance. He can hire who he wants with little push-back.

Marshall celebrated being a vehicle for Forbes’ renaissance.

“We are excited to have someone with his skill set, who is also looking for a second chance in our profession, to join our staff,” Marshall said in a school release.

And Forbes, who won 62 of 68 games at Northwest Florida, is happy to push history further into the past. He courteously declined to speak for this story. He left it at this: “Honestly, I’m not very interested in doing another Tennessee article. This is my second job since I left Tennessee. I’ve had nine jobs in 25 years and Tennessee is just one of many.”

According to a March 2013 report from the Associated Press, of the 44 former men’s basketball coaches handed show-cause penalties since 2000, at least 25 found other coaching jobs. Most came after the orders expired.

That’s just 55.6 percent.

Getting a job is only a portion of the problem raised by a show-cause. It’s an albatross that loosens the screws on the coaching ladder.

“The NCAA uses that as a scarlet letter,” Bilas said. “They want it to follow you around and they want it to be a deterrent.”

Pearl, meanwhile, will be a white whale of sorts come next year. Who will have the juice to hire him? How eager will he be to return to the sideline?

“Bruce is one of the top 25 (college) coaches out there,” DeCourcy said. “There are 346 head coaches and he’s better than all but two-dozen or so. If someone has a big-time opening this spring and doesn’t hire him, they will have made a severe mistake.”

Some second chances are easier to come by.

---

Tony Jones has the unique ability to be vulnerable and defiant all at once.

“You kind of get calloused to it,” he said, oddly smirking. “Yeah, I’m interested in job offers, but now in the back of my mind, this roadblock is there in front of me. I’ll get through it though.”

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL) Former University of assistant basketball coach Tony Jones at his home on Thursday, July 11, 2013.

Photo by Saul Young

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL) Former University of assistant basketball coach Tony Jones at his home on Thursday, July 11, 2013.

Jones didn’t eat lunch, didn’t even peek at the menu. He talked with a glass of water in one hand, the iPhone in the other. He swore, again and again, he doesn’t want sympathy.

“What happened, happened,” he said. “It was a minor slipup that became major.”

Jones is open to alternatives, though he says the words “pri-vate sec-tor” through a mouthful of glass shards. Most believe if Pearl lands a job next spring, his first phone call will be to hire Jones.

That’s two second chances in one.

It’s also well down the road.

For now, Jones needs to eat.

Tucking the iPhone in a pocket and pulling away from the table, Jones is asked the million dollar question.

Do you feel like the stank is starting to wear off?

“Yeah, and it’s about time. It’s about damn time.”

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

Related: Bruce Pearl, staff timeline at Tennessee

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Comments » 42

GerryOP writes:

No question about Pearl's coaching ability; but, sooner or later someone has to ask ... "How many times can a good coach stumble and fall and still find someone who is willing to give him another chance." Pearl has two strikes against him. Will he get another chance? Probably, but maybe not at D-1.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

No question about Pearl's coaching ability; but, sooner or later someone has to ask ... "How many times can a good coach stumble and fall and still find someone who is willing to give him another chance." Pearl has two strikes against him. Will he get another chance? Probably, but maybe not at D-1.

Gerry, if you want an answer to your question all you have to do is look at the coach at Kentucky.

GerryOP writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Gerry, if you want an answer to your question all you have to do is look at the coach at Kentucky.

Calipari is certainly the ultimate Teflon-man! Maybe Bruce needs to spend more time with him.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Calipari is certainly the ultimate Teflon-man! Maybe Bruce needs to spend more time with him.

Witch Doctor add if Witch Doctor may, Calipari pizzes off fans and school officials. Witch Doctor say Bruce pizzzed off the "system" and the powers that be..Twice. Witch Doctor love Bruce but really think its going to be a silent black ball.
Bones never lie.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor add if Witch Doctor may, Calipari pizzes off fans and school officials. Witch Doctor say Bruce pizzzed off the "system" and the powers that be..Twice. Witch Doctor love Bruce but really think its going to be a silent black ball.
Bones never lie.

You're right WD, Bruce just seems to "step in it" and get all dirty whereas Calipari just skates! Having lived pretty much all over, I chalk it up to Pearl is from the Boston area and those folks always make excuses for whatever they do wrong. Whereas Calipari is from the Pittsburgh area where they dare you to prove them wrong ... and make no excuses.

Just my opinion having lived in both places!!!!

CoverOrange writes:

Jones should go the route Forbes and Shay did, start at the bottom at a JC or Div III and impress people enough to get hired at Div II. Div I is a long way off.

For Pearl, this is his second NCAA strike (he was hit at S. Illinois when recruits showed up at his house during his daughter's party) and his second blackball. Took something like 16 years to recover from the first. Not sure he has enough years left to recover again.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to GerryOP:

No question about Pearl's coaching ability; but, sooner or later someone has to ask ... "How many times can a good coach stumble and fall and still find someone who is willing to give him another chance." Pearl has two strikes against him. Will he get another chance? Probably, but maybe not at D-1.

As the article states there are 346 D1 jobs available, Pearl is a program builder and will find a D1 job easlily. Shay, Jones, and Forbes are decent hard working assistants but they are a dime a dozen. Pearl has won everywhere and will be hired by at the least a mid-major and at best a BCS conference school.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Jones should have gone back to Detroit and looked for some type of job where he could maintain his high school connections in that city.

Those connections alone with all the talent coming out of the area would have made him a HOT commodity today. Instead he stuck around Knoxville taking a high school job that took him off the radar.

I understand that family often comes first, but it's not like his daughter was finishing high school, rather a degree at UT? Maybe there's more to that story but if it is what it seems, I don't think it was a wise move. Only time will tell.

GerryOP writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

As the article states there are 346 D1 jobs available, Pearl is a program builder and will find a D1 job easlily. Shay, Jones, and Forbes are decent hard working assistants but they are a dime a dozen. Pearl has won everywhere and will be hired by at the least a mid-major and at best a BCS conference school.

1vavolfan, I don't agree with the way Bruce has carried out his responsibilities, but I do wish him well. Really, I do.

rockytop321 writes:

As I read it hit me who the writer had to be. The Sentinel will not hang on to you for long, as you will be covering nationally very soon.

eduardo writes:

Considering the situation..Pearl should have and staff should have been retained by this administration. What the heck is the ncaa gonna do? Uconn held onto to their coach in the middle of the allegations swirling. Bruce Pearl brought UT out of the dark ages and back to relevance in college bball. He should still be here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VOL56 writes:

Coach Pearl will be coaching in '14 at a D-1 school, SEC I hope or go to the NBA

Too much talent - as mentioned, top 25 coach in the NCAA-

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Everyone always fails to mention how Mike Hamilton and the UTAD and the UT legal eagles and compliance department turned a small infraction into this mess where we lose a great coach. Had Hamilton and his folks been on the ball and given Pearl and his staff a simple "heads up" about the NCAA inquiry this extreme result could have easily been avoided. Easily. Dropped ball by Hamilton and the "support" staff effected many lives and a university needlessly. This could all have been handled smarter. Bonzai Vol

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

Getting to Tennessee is only 1/2 way of the journey for most of these coaches; we shouldn't expect that UT is the best job available in any sport, in fact, it's not. (including football.. best regards, Lane Kiffin)

SevenT writes:

I love the old saying..."When you play with snakes you are going to get bit"

Anything associated with the Dirtbag Tennessee basketball program is toxic. Maybe time for a career change like Pearl had to do.

Just Saying

iowavol writes:

in response to eduardo:

Considering the situation..Pearl should have and staff should have been retained by this administration. What the heck is the ncaa gonna do? Uconn held onto to their coach in the middle of the allegations swirling. Bruce Pearl brought UT out of the dark ages and back to relevance in college bball. He should still be here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep. I haven't seen (or written myself) a negative post toward Hamilton in a long time, but, he's the gift that keeps on giving. A book or case study will be written about him someday. The AD that brought down a top tier athletic program.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Everyone always fails to mention how Mike Hamilton and the UTAD and the UT legal eagles and compliance department turned a small infraction into this mess where we lose a great coach. Had Hamilton and his folks been on the ball and given Pearl and his staff a simple "heads up" about the NCAA inquiry this extreme result could have easily been avoided. Easily. Dropped ball by Hamilton and the "support" staff effected many lives and a university needlessly. This could all have been handled smarter. Bonzai Vol

Hamilton was conveniently out of the country. The lawyer brought in to rep the UTAD was a gun-for-hire from Kansas. Pearl stepped in it of his own free will but appeared many made sure he no shovel with which to dig out.

CharlotteVol writes:

in response to rockytop321:

As I read it hit me who the writer had to be. The Sentinel will not hang on to you for long, as you will be covering nationally very soon.

Agree. Quinn is a solid writer. He is a better fit for TFP staff than KNS. Hope he chooses to stay at KNS and lead a new era of sports writing. Of course that depends on the editor seeing that the rest of the staff no longer are producing anything the reader wants to read.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to SevenT:

I love the old saying..."When you play with snakes you are going to get bit"

Anything associated with the Dirtbag Tennessee basketball program is toxic. Maybe time for a career change like Pearl had to do.

Just Saying

Really lame attempt. Hit reset and try again troll. LOL!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CharlotteVol:

Agree. Quinn is a solid writer. He is a better fit for TFP staff than KNS. Hope he chooses to stay at KNS and lead a new era of sports writing. Of course that depends on the editor seeing that the rest of the staff no longer are producing anything the reader wants to read.

I'm a great fan of BQ, but I would have to say I enjoy Woodberry's work as well. I like Strange and Flesor, too. Adams I read just for yucks--take that either way, depending on your own predilictions!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Really lame attempt. Hit reset and try again troll. LOL!

Another day, another brain-fart from 7teeth.

MR_VOL writes:

in response to eduardo:

Considering the situation..Pearl should have and staff should have been retained by this administration. What the heck is the ncaa gonna do? Uconn held onto to their coach in the middle of the allegations swirling. Bruce Pearl brought UT out of the dark ages and back to relevance in college bball. He should still be here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I totally agree.

At the time when all this Bruce situation got started, everyone was saying “UT will get the death penalty” with scholarship reductions and no post season play. Well, what difference does it make if a team is on post season ban with six players versus a team that has all players and cannot make the NCAA tournament? As all UT fans know, since the departure of Bruce, we have not made the NCAA tournament, and lost very quickly in the NIT, so really UT is currently somewhat living the death penalty. As a basketball fan, my hope is for wins and a deep run in the NCAA tournament which has not been delivered under the current coach, so as a fan am I better off with a non-penalized Martin versus a penalized Bruce---no I am not.

I have a close friend who is a very good donor at a rival SEC university, and he has told me that Bruce has been discussed about being their coach, and UT usually plays this team twice per year. The only obstacle blocking Bruce's SEC return will be Slive pulling a “Petrino” on Bruce.

Bruce is a proven winner and as I have stated above, whether you like it or not, it is all about the wins (and the money the wins generate).

johnlg00 writes:

I'm pulling hard for all the assistants. They seem to have gone down in defense of their erring boss. The loss of assumed trust is potentially fatal in the coaching profession. I think the basic character of these guys will eventually emerge. They are still on the young side as the profession goes.

Pearl is a somewhat more controversial case. As long as the NCAA exists in its present form, there will be some lingering institutional resentment of Pearl. It is legitimate for schools to wonder if hiring Pearl might not result in constant microscopic examination by the scandal-seekers. I'm not saying it's fair or that I agree with it, but that is clearly going to be the point of view of lots potential hirers. The NCAA may well not BE in its present form for too much longer, but I'm not sure it will change enough, soon enough, to do Pearl any good.

TommyJack writes:

Ol' TJ hopes Bruce gets a nice gig in coaching. He will do well.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm pulling hard for all the assistants. They seem to have gone down in defense of their erring boss. The loss of assumed trust is potentially fatal in the coaching profession. I think the basic character of these guys will eventually emerge. They are still on the young side as the profession goes.

Pearl is a somewhat more controversial case. As long as the NCAA exists in its present form, there will be some lingering institutional resentment of Pearl. It is legitimate for schools to wonder if hiring Pearl might not result in constant microscopic examination by the scandal-seekers. I'm not saying it's fair or that I agree with it, but that is clearly going to be the point of view of lots potential hirers. The NCAA may well not BE in its present form for too much longer, but I'm not sure it will change enough, soon enough, to do Pearl any good.

Same here ..hope for the best for the assistants. This whole thing was over cooked by the NCAA and I think it was based on Pearl's past..not just this incident..I am not a big Pearl fan but his coaching record and what he did for UT speaks for itself and I think he will get a big conference job as soon as he is eligible...

MidTennVol writes:

I gotta tell you. KNS can sure hire some great young sportswriters. But they sure as hell can't keep them. This kid will be gone soon. Very good piece by a very good sportswriter.

volforeverandever writes:

I think that some division one school will hire Pearl.It just won't be Tennessee.

GOJO writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Really lame attempt. Hit reset and try again troll. LOL!

BigBadVol writes:
in response to SevenT:

I love the old saying..."When you play with snakes you are going to get bit"

Anything associated with the Dirtbag Tennessee basketball program is toxic. Maybe time for a career change like Pearl had to do.

Just Saying

Really lame attempt. Hit reset and try again troll. LOL!
...

7 ball does not have a reset button. Only one gear, which is reverse.

bUTch_please writes:

The way the 2A holds secondary violations is IF a reprimanded coach commits the same secondary violation again, it is a major violation. That is why the "bump" at the house cookout was such an issue.

It wasn't that Hamilton or the Athletic Department or boogymen from outer space turned a cookout into a firing by alchemy. Bruce and his staff knew a major violation occurred. He and his staff lied their butts off. Knowingly. IF his staff had not lied NONE of them would have gotten the show cause. Their choice.

Bruce made a vague reference a year after he was fired that the cookout bump had an appearance of being a set-up. Perhaps that was the case and Bruce had enough repercussions from throwing stones in the past that he's elected not to openly discuss his theory.

Nonetheless, the reason Bruce was fired and will never be back is because he committed a major violation by 2A standards, compounded it by lying and his entire staff went down with the ship. By choice.

Quite frankly if it's a choice of parting with any coach or the survival of UT Mens BB....bye-bye coach.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Who is Bruce Pearl or J Shay or the Forbes guy. I heard their names somewhere before.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

The way the 2A holds secondary violations is IF a reprimanded coach commits the same secondary violation again, it is a major violation. That is why the "bump" at the house cookout was such an issue.

It wasn't that Hamilton or the Athletic Department or boogymen from outer space turned a cookout into a firing by alchemy. Bruce and his staff knew a major violation occurred. He and his staff lied their butts off. Knowingly. IF his staff had not lied NONE of them would have gotten the show cause. Their choice.

Bruce made a vague reference a year after he was fired that the cookout bump had an appearance of being a set-up. Perhaps that was the case and Bruce had enough repercussions from throwing stones in the past that he's elected not to openly discuss his theory.

Nonetheless, the reason Bruce was fired and will never be back is because he committed a major violation by 2A standards, compounded it by lying and his entire staff went down with the ship. By choice.

Quite frankly if it's a choice of parting with any coach or the survival of UT Mens BB....bye-bye coach.

The UTAD lawyer and several others in the UTAD knew about the picture a week before the interview and said nothing to Bruce, Tony, Jason, or Steve. If someone had said anything, NONE of the coaches would have lied and NONE would have gotten a show cause. How hard would the NCAA have come down for a secondary violation bumped to a major, we'll never know. Pearl was guilty, but he didn't have to be as guilty as he was in the end.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

The UTAD lawyer and several others in the UTAD knew about the picture a week before the interview and said nothing to Bruce, Tony, Jason, or Steve. If someone had said anything, NONE of the coaches would have lied and NONE would have gotten a show cause. How hard would the NCAA have come down for a secondary violation bumped to a major, we'll never know. Pearl was guilty, but he didn't have to be as guilty as he was in the end.

Thank you Cover Orange that is the point I was trying to make, not very well but trying too. Nicely stated. Bonzai Vol

FanNotSheep writes:

You know, you don't have to have a basketball coach that you'd want for a son-in-law, a preacher or a role model. You just need one who can coach. UT had one who took a horrible -- not mediocre -- a horrible basketball program and turned it around on a dime, with the same players.

I don't care if Pearl turned in a Big 10 coach for cheating. I don't care if he failed to tell a top prospect that he couldn't come to a stupid barbecue because he was a junior and not a senior. And you know why I don't act all shocked and offended that he lied? Because he knew the media and the NCAA would rip him endlessly for any transgressions he admitted.

Bruce Pearl is not a top 25 college basketball coach. He is top 5. There aren't 24 other guys who could have done what he did at Tennessee. There aren't any who would try, especially after the administration proved what all the national experts had said for years: If the UT suits have to choose between basketball and football they will pick football every time. That's why instead of having Bruce's back they stabbed him in it.

tennlions writes:

in response to MR_VOL:

I totally agree.

At the time when all this Bruce situation got started, everyone was saying “UT will get the death penalty” with scholarship reductions and no post season play. Well, what difference does it make if a team is on post season ban with six players versus a team that has all players and cannot make the NCAA tournament? As all UT fans know, since the departure of Bruce, we have not made the NCAA tournament, and lost very quickly in the NIT, so really UT is currently somewhat living the death penalty. As a basketball fan, my hope is for wins and a deep run in the NCAA tournament which has not been delivered under the current coach, so as a fan am I better off with a non-penalized Martin versus a penalized Bruce---no I am not.

I have a close friend who is a very good donor at a rival SEC university, and he has told me that Bruce has been discussed about being their coach, and UT usually plays this team twice per year. The only obstacle blocking Bruce's SEC return will be Slive pulling a “Petrino” on Bruce.

Bruce is a proven winner and as I have stated above, whether you like it or not, it is all about the wins (and the money the wins generate).

I don't disagree with your post. However, you're making the comparison in hindsight. At the time, UT did what they had to do and cut ties with BP.

bUTch_please writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

The UTAD lawyer and several others in the UTAD knew about the picture a week before the interview and said nothing to Bruce, Tony, Jason, or Steve. If someone had said anything, NONE of the coaches would have lied and NONE would have gotten a show cause. How hard would the NCAA have come down for a secondary violation bumped to a major, we'll never know. Pearl was guilty, but he didn't have to be as guilty as he was in the end.

I appreciate your viewpoint CoverOrange. Yes, you are correct that UTAD had foreknowledge of the pic.

Pearl didn't have to be as guilty as he was in the end IF only HE had chosen NOT to lie. But Pearl had put that ball into play weeks/months before the interview even occurred.

Sometimes it is a cold reality of management that if you have someone who keeps pulling rope off of the spool, despite counsel to the contrary, there comes a time that you allow them to pull however much rope off the spool that they choose. If it's enough to hang themselves with, so be it. UTAD had no moral, ethical or leadership responsibility to divulge to Pearl the availability of the pic. In fact, doing so could have made them complicate in the cover-up and exposed UTAD to a vastly greater liability.

Is what it is.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Gerry, if you want an answer to your question all you have to do is look at the coach at Kentucky.

The coach at KY has never been cited for a violation let alone given a show-cause. Say and believe what you want but that is the fact.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

As the article states there are 346 D1 jobs available, Pearl is a program builder and will find a D1 job easlily. Shay, Jones, and Forbes are decent hard working assistants but they are a dime a dozen. Pearl has won everywhere and will be hired by at the least a mid-major and at best a BCS conference school.

LMAO!! I'll take that bet...name the stakes...no amount is too great!! He's gone for at least another five years!

RememberWhen writes:

in response to MR_VOL:

I totally agree.

At the time when all this Bruce situation got started, everyone was saying “UT will get the death penalty” with scholarship reductions and no post season play. Well, what difference does it make if a team is on post season ban with six players versus a team that has all players and cannot make the NCAA tournament? As all UT fans know, since the departure of Bruce, we have not made the NCAA tournament, and lost very quickly in the NIT, so really UT is currently somewhat living the death penalty. As a basketball fan, my hope is for wins and a deep run in the NCAA tournament which has not been delivered under the current coach, so as a fan am I better off with a non-penalized Martin versus a penalized Bruce---no I am not.

I have a close friend who is a very good donor at a rival SEC university, and he has told me that Bruce has been discussed about being their coach, and UT usually plays this team twice per year. The only obstacle blocking Bruce's SEC return will be Slive pulling a “Petrino” on Bruce.

Bruce is a proven winner and as I have stated above, whether you like it or not, it is all about the wins (and the money the wins generate).

Poor memory maybe? Tennessee was never in danger of getting any death penalty. Remember that the entire investigation of b-ball started over phone calls. The whole BBQ/picture thing didn't come up until the NCAA somehow got hold of the photo and Mrs. Craft insisted that her husband and son tell the truth. People can blame Hamilton, the attorney's, the Craft's, whomever but the bottom line is it was Pearl who stuck the dagger in his own heart. He met with his assistants about their questioning (violation), he told them to be vague/misleading (violation), he lied directly to the NCAA (violation). It was Pearl that took minor violations (phone calls and off campus contact)with minor penalties (lose a scholly) and turned them into felonies! So you may be technically correct that you are not better off with a non-penalized Martin vs a penalized Bruce but that's because Martin was the wrong hire - not because Pearl should still be here. Finally, tell your "friend" that Pearl will not be the next coach at Georgia either. The Dawgs may be stupid but even they aren't dumb enough to invite that problem.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

The UTAD lawyer and several others in the UTAD knew about the picture a week before the interview and said nothing to Bruce, Tony, Jason, or Steve. If someone had said anything, NONE of the coaches would have lied and NONE would have gotten a show cause. How hard would the NCAA have come down for a secondary violation bumped to a major, we'll never know. Pearl was guilty, but he didn't have to be as guilty as he was in the end.

LMAO!!! Why do you people still try to blame others??? This was VERY simple - tell the truth. The fact that others had the picture and didn't tell them is irrelevent! THEY weren't permitted to "give the heads up" and obviously weren't willing to put THEIR careers/reputations on the line to do so! Your logic is akin to telling your wife you're not cheating on her when she shows you the pic of you in bed with the other woman - even if the woman was your cousin!!

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

LMAO!!! Why do you people still try to blame others??? This was VERY simple - tell the truth. The fact that others had the picture and didn't tell them is irrelevent! THEY weren't permitted to "give the heads up" and obviously weren't willing to put THEIR careers/reputations on the line to do so! Your logic is akin to telling your wife you're not cheating on her when she shows you the pic of you in bed with the other woman - even if the woman was your cousin!!

Seems like you laugh your A off quite a bit.

Anyway, there is a big difference between sleeping with your cousin and a coach not offending a top high school recruit by making him leave a barbecue that he wasn't actually invited to because it was against a dumb NCAA rule (actually that's redundant -- almost all NCAA rules are dumb).

The rule Pearl broke is no longer a rule. But it did its job; it allowed the NCAA and the Big 10 to get back at Pearl.

No, you are not supposed to lie. Even George Washington knew that. But George wasn't blacklisted by the college basketball world for turning in a coach for cheating. Fulmer did the same thing to Alabama but he had the National Championship cred. Pearl was just a young assistant.

Bruce knew they'd have a field day if he was caught breaking rules. He panicked and he lied. Lots of people have lied and got to keep their jobs. Of course, you, George Washington and Jesus never have.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Seems like you laugh your A off quite a bit.

Anyway, there is a big difference between sleeping with your cousin and a coach not offending a top high school recruit by making him leave a barbecue that he wasn't actually invited to because it was against a dumb NCAA rule (actually that's redundant -- almost all NCAA rules are dumb).

The rule Pearl broke is no longer a rule. But it did its job; it allowed the NCAA and the Big 10 to get back at Pearl.

No, you are not supposed to lie. Even George Washington knew that. But George wasn't blacklisted by the college basketball world for turning in a coach for cheating. Fulmer did the same thing to Alabama but he had the National Championship cred. Pearl was just a young assistant.

Bruce knew they'd have a field day if he was caught breaking rules. He panicked and he lied. Lots of people have lied and got to keep their jobs. Of course, you, George Washington and Jesus never have.

Get at least a few of your assertions factually correct if you desire to logical support your statements.

1. CPF provided the NCAA facts concerning a Tide booster paying 150K to a high school coach to steer a player to the Crimson. No Tide staff implicated.

2. The "rule" CBP broke was lying to the NCAA numerous times during an investigation. 3 years of show cause is modest considering the transgression.

3. If Bruce is so astute to know the ramifications if caught violating the "rules", surely he knew fabricated denials, inducing others to be complicate, was asking for the hangman's noose.

Many were after his neck after his actions in the Big Ten. But he gave them the platform and the noose. He coached our team well but he is poison and the regrets should be for those that trusted his judgement.

voldoll73 writes:

Anyone know who made the picture of the B Q at Pearl's house and turned it in to the "P'sTB?"

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