Tag:Bruce Pearl
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 2:31 pm

Pearl launches radio show; is he done coaching?

By Matt Norlander

Tonight, our Jeff Goodman and former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl will begin a new endeavor together. The two of them will be hosting a weekly radio show on Sirius XM Radio channel 91. It’s called “SiriusXM College Basketball Today.”

Goodman was too lazy to write a post about this himself. Also, because of a conflict of interest, he couldn’t exactly interview Pearl about the gig. So I did. Plus, we don’t really care what Goodman has to say about the show—he’ll do fine and alienate himself to as many fan bases as possible. As for Pearl? I focused more on him, now, than the show. That’s just below these details:

Tonight’s show will have Rick Pitino, Tu Holloway, Josh Pastner, Scott Drew and Kevin Stallings. Goodman wanted representation from each guy at a top-15-ranked team. With Vandy’s loss to Cleveland State, this has backfired.

The show has its special airing tonight from 6 to 8 p.m., ET, but will normally run from noon to 3 p.m. ET every Monday through December. When January comes, the show is twice-a-week, Mondays and Thursdays, same starting time.

As for Pearl, he’s still working for H.T. Hackney Co., a wholesale distributor that purchases, warehouses and distribute “about 90 percent of what a consumer would find in a convenience store,” Pearl said. (What a departure, huh?) Pearls’ office is in downtown Knoxville, but he spends half his time on the road “because you can’t hunt bear in the lodge.”

It’s the fourth-largest company of its kind in the country. There are 28 warehouses in 20 states. Pearl is the VP of marketing.

The radio job came to be because Pearl’s wanted to do this for a long time. He envisioned himself getting into color commentary for television about five or six years ago—before the Tennessee job came along and his life changed forever. He thought he’d be calling games for the rest of his life, not coaching them.  

“I didn’t anticipate that I would mess up so badly, and that opportunity would need to be presenting itself at this time,” Pearl said. “But it’s always been out there, that at some point, after I was done coaching, that this is what I wanted to do. I hope I get to do both TV and radio.”

My question to Pearl was this: A year ago today, if I asked you where you expected to be, what would you have said?

“A year ago today I would’ve guessed that we would’ve gone through a lot but I still would be working at Tennessee,” he said. “I thought they were going to stay with me. I came forward with the mistakes I had made, but it was a very difficult season to go through. The media scrutiny, the suspension by (SEC commissioner) Mike Slive, and so I was disappointed and surprised that the university made the change.”

It was a year ago that Tennessee won its first early-season NIT tournament—in New York, where Pearl will call the first radio show tonight with Goodman, in Manhattan. I pressed him on how he’ll criticize and critique his former colleagues. Is he going to go soft? He said no—but he won’t be critical, either.

“As a coach, it is your tendency, just by virtue of the knowledge of how difficult the job is, there can be a tendency, having walked in those coaches moccasins, you have a better perspective.,” Pearl said. “I will be offering opinions, opposed to criticism. I may say this is how I would do something or feel about that, but if it’s different from the coaches, it won’t be a criticism—just how I would have approached them.”

Pearl has a radio background. He did three hours a day at WTMJ in Milwaukee in 2004/05.

So he’ll do this with Goodman during the season, keep up his duties with H.T. Hackney … and is getting back into coaching on the docket?

“At this time, that’s not the first on the list,” he said. “Right now, the plan is to take care of my family. My daughter’s a senior, my son’s a sophomore in high school. I love the game, it’s been a part of me for the last 33 years of my life. Thirty-three years is a long time in college basketball. I want to give this radio thing a real shot and see if I can do a good job with it.”

I asked if there was a greater chance of him never coaching again than not.

“I don’t know,” Pearl said.

He doesn’t sound eager to get back, even with the shackles around him for the next few years, a show-cause preventing his return.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 30, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:03 pm

Pearl passes on D-League, TV; takes marketing job

By Matt Norlander

In the end, Bruce Pearl did what must of us expected him to do with his new life: take a job in the marketing community.

Wait ... what? Yep, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Pearl has passed on coaching at the D-League level or taking a job in television, opting instead to join H.T. Hackney Co.'s marketing team. It's a shocking move for Pearl, considering how he has grown to adore the spotlight. I have to commend him for this move, which is certainly not a high-profile gig, even if it will raise eyebrows for a day.

Pearl, who is serving a three-year show-cause that was handed down by the NCAA last week, will start Sept. 1 for the company, which is based in Knoxville and is in the "wholesale grocery" business. Pearl's path has become one of the more unpredictable ones in college basketball, considering where he was just over a year ago.

Board room meetings just got a lot more fun.

Here's more from the News-Sentinel:

H.T. Hackney, which has its corporate offices in downtown Knoxville and a regional distribution center in Roane County, is led by Chairman and CEO Bill Sansom, who formerly sat on UT's board of trustees and also is a TVA director. Sansom said Pearl, who was a marketing and economics major at the Boston College School of Management, brings freshness, enthusiasm and a strategic vision to the company.

"H.T. Hackney is a great company that has been doing things right for a long time," Sansom said in a statement. "I've known Bruce Pearl for years — his leadership, competitiveness and understanding of marketing is a great fit for our organization."

Pearl ... said the decision came down to a handful of important factors.

"I worked for 33 years — my entire coaching career — to get to a place like Knoxville," the former coach said in a statement. "This is where my family lives, this is home. We have made life-long friends here and we are very blessed to have this opportunity. ... It took a company like H.T. Hackney with a leader like Bill Sansom to attract me. As a coach, I know the importance of being a team player. It is my goal to assist our sales and marketing staff to better serve our customers, vendors and to grow our business."

So Pearl's going to stay away from basketball -- for the foreseeable future -- in the interest of humility, a change of pace and an intriguing job opportunity he probably never thought he'd have.

Photo: Getty Images
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 26, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 11:25 am

Pearl would be best served to shut his mouth

By Matt Norlander

If you couldn't decipher it from that dripping-with-symbolism photo, Bruce Pearl is on a massive media tour in the wake of his three-year show-cause ruling.

I guess it's high time he get out in front of the people and explain himself, give the press that reaction we've just gotta have. He's taking questions from everyone about everything: jobs on the horizon; his mistakes; his lies; his regrets; Tennessee basketball; Pat Summitt. Whatever it has to do with Bruce, Bruce is available to speak with you.

You'd almost think he was retiring. Maybe he is and we just don't know it yet.

In an act of irony that was so heavy-handed I'm not sure how it happened without a laugh track constantly playing behind it, Pearl hosted a barbecue for the media yesterday at the house he's currently forced to sell because he was busted for hosting recruits there -- during a barbecue.

Read that graf again and swirl away into the nexus of the universe.

All these interviews and Pearl, now, has the answers. If I had him on the line, I'd ask just one question, though: Bruce, what the hell are you doing? I'd follow that up with, Why are you talking every hour of the day to anyone with a microphone or notepad? Do you realize some of the things you've said lack self-awareness and embody the opposite of the point you're trying to get across? The best quote I could dig up from Pearl's recent media blitz came from his Friday morning appearance on the "Dan Patrick Show."

"Right now I don't want to distract from the game," Pearl said without a hint of the irony and hypocrisy that's sweating from that sentence. He followed that up with, "Right now I don't want to be the story."

Then, I ask again, what the hell are you doing, Bruce? Because you know damn well you're making yourself the story right now. Do you want to set the record straight? No need -- we know all the details. None of this media tour really means anything. The words you've used in the past 24 hours do not have a shelf life in regard to your future in college basketball. What you say now isn't going to alter your legacy or reputation, no matter what job you land at in the coming weeks. (Pearl also admitted the three-year show-cause has had "a bit of an effect" on his decision whether or not to coach in the D-League.)

Maybe that's a good thing, too, because there's a particular word Pearl is using that is making him look terrible: we. We, we, we. That's what he keeps going back to. Him and his staff. We. His assistants were also guilty, but he's throwing those guys -- who are working at high schools and low-level, non-DI colleges, who have no possible cushy future talking on television -- under the bus right now. Pearl is the face of this violation, and he did his former assistants pretty sour on Doug Gottlieb's radio show Thursday night. (Transcribing more quotes would take up too much space here; just listen and be wowed by how badly Pearl comes off.) Take the hit, Bruce, because your former assistants will have it much tougher than you will trying to get back into the business.

On Friday morning, Pearl continued to talk out of both ends of his mouth.

"Making the penalties tough, and tougher, is the right thing to do," Pearl said on the Dan Patrick Show. "Let me stand as an example as to what happens to you when you break the rules." OK, fine. It's a go-to concession that's easy to own up to after punishments have been levied and things can't be undone, but whatever.

Yet minutes later Pearl added he doesn't consider himself a cheater -- or a liar.

"I think there's a big difference between being a liar and being a cheater," he said. What?

"I don't agree with some of their findings," Pearl added. "I called John Craft the day I was interviewed to find out if he knew anything about this picture that I was about to see. I didn't know anything about it; I was completely caught off guard. I should not have called him because it does give the impression that I was trying to tamper with the investigation."

I've spoken off the record with a few people who have a lot of knowledge about the ins and outs of this case. I'm inclined to believe there is at least one more Bruce Pearl lie embedded in the quote above. I've clearly underestimated Pearl's affection for the media and for hearing himself talk. Maybe this is how he truly comes to terms with his three-year NCAA sentence. But he couldn't look much worse in the process of this self-appointed healing session he's so desperate to have everyone listen to.

Photo via Amy Smotherman
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 24, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 3:25 pm

It's time to take that D-League job, BP

By Gary Parrish

Bruce Pearl has a three-year show-cause penalty.

The NCAA's Wednesday afternoon announcement made it official.

So now it's time to take that D-League job with the Dallas Mavericks, right?

Yes, I know Pearl considers himself a "college" coach, and so do I. But coaching a relevant college program is no longer a realistic option for the next three years even if it is technically possible, which is why Pearl would be wise to transition into professional basketball, a place where nobody cares how many phone calls you make or cookouts you host. While this NCAA cloud hangs, that should be Pearl's move. And he'll be great, I think, because the guy has, over a span of 19 seasons as a college coach, consistently shown the ability to win with good rosters, average rosters and below-average rosters.

Pearl almost never loses.

Check his year-by-year results.

So there's no reason to think Pearl wouldn't be a succesful D-League coach -- and, I genuinely believe, he'll have a better chance of being an NBA head coach before he gets a realistic opportunity to be a high-major college coach again. So why not jump on that path, take a shot and see what happens? A college job will probably be available later. But it's not now. And a decent one almost certainly won't be for a while.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 8:26 am

Former UT staff to get show-cause penalties

By Gary Parrish

The NCAA will announce on Wednesday that former Tennesseee basketball coach Bruce Pearl is receiving a multi-year show-cause penalty for admitted violations that cost him his job, a source told CBSSports.com on Tuesday. The show-cause penalty, according to the source, is expected to range three years.

The source added that Pearl's former assistants -- Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay -- will each receive one-year show-cause penalties for their roles in the recruiting violations. Jones is now a high school coach just outside of Knoxville. Forbes and Shay are coaching at a junior college in Florida.

Pearl made six NCAA tournaments in six seasons at Tennessee.

He was fired in March.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 3:53 pm

Bruce Pearl seems unfazed by damp housing market

By Matt Norlander

Would you like to own the property that's a part of NCAA investigation lore? A residence that helped lead to the firing of the most embraceable coach in the history of Tennessee men's basketball?

If you've got a gross income in the millions and don't mind the sticky Tennessee summers, then there's a bulky abode waiting for your signature. We're talking about the house where Aaron Craft and Josh Selby once improperly enjoyed an afternoon barbecue, only to later have Bruce Pearl deny said barbecue and its guests ever happened. A place that was temporarily unremembered.

That's a special kind of place. The undoing of Tennessee men's hoops all began in that brick-and-stone home you see to the right.

Pearl has put his lush, bold, modern (am I using the right real estate terms here? What really makes a house "move"?) 10,200 square-foot mansion in Knoxville, Tenn., on the market. According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the massive home sits on an acre and has five bedrooms, six and a half baths, eight (!!) fireplaces, three laundry facilities and a saline pool. Saline's much more expensive initially than chlorine, but there's no upkeep to it. It's really the wiser investment in the long run.

Pearl, who still hasn't accepted a job in the NBDL, is asking $2.69 million for it. He bought it three years ago for $2.1 mill. Uh, Bruce. Have you seen what's been happening all around the country?

Pearl said Monday that the property was "clearly my dream home", but that he needs to downsize. "Now that I'm not the basketball coach and may not be doing quite as much entertaining, it's bigger than what we need," he said. ... But when asked how he'll remember the home Pearl focused on better memories, saying he was married in the side yard and hosted a lot of charity events in it.

In fact, he said broker Debbie Elliott-Sexton, of Alliance Sotheby's International Realty, is "helping us with our next purchase." And what is he looking for? "We'd love something on the lake," Pearl said.

A lake is a natural fit for Pearl, as he's shown in the past.

So now I ask, what happens first: Pearl receives his punishment from the NCAA or his house gets a buyer? I'll go with the former.

(H/T, John Clay, whose lead for his own blog post is the best possible one anyone could concoct for this particular story)

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 6:04 pm

Pearl confirms interest in D-League's Legends

By Jeff Goodman

Bruce Pearl confirmed to CBSSports.com his interest in coaching the NBDL's Texas Legends. 

Art Garcia of NBA.com tweeted that Pearl has accepted the job and a news conference is set for Wednesday. However, Pearl told CBSSports.com that he was set to interview later this week for the job. 

``I've always seen myself as a college coach, working with young players and trying to make a difference," Pearl told CBSSports.com. ``But when the world champions call, an organization like Dallas, you have to listen."

``I'm very fortunate they believe I'm worthy," Pearl added. 

There was interest in Pearl from the Maine Red Claws earlier in the summer, but sources indicated that Pearl thought he was headed to work at ESPN. However, after that appeared to no longer be a viable option, Pearl's desire to return to the sidelines increased - even at the minor-league level.

The news of the Texas Legends interest in Pearl was first reported by ESPN's Marc Stein on Tuesday.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Bruce Pearl
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 4:20 pm

More Bruce-Pearl-to-D-League rumors

By Matt Norlander

UPDATE: ESPN.com quotes Pearl below.

A second NBA D-League team is believed to be interested in hiring Bruce Pearl as head coach.

In May it was the Maine Red Claws, though that courtship never materialized. The team wound up hiring former DePaul and Virginia coach Dave Leitao a few weeks ago.

But now comes a second option at that level. ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the Texas Legends are now in pursuit of the former Tennessee coach. The move makes sense for D-League teams who are looking to sell tickets any way they can. Pearl would be the only coach in that league who doubles as a household name.

The Legends are the feeder club to the Dallas Mavericks, who of course just won their first world title in June. ESPN.com got Pearl on the record late Tuesday afternoon.

"When the world champions call you have to listen," Pearl said. "Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have been great and I'm looking forward to talking to them."

Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson heads the management team as Legends co-owner.

Sources told ESPN.com that there have been ongoing negotiations between the parties.

Said one source: "The job is [Pearl's] if he wants it."

And for Pearl, it could make sense, but he's still in a twist-in-the-wind situation right now. He is still awaiting to hear back from the NCAA, which will bring down a punishment on him and the Tennessee program some time later this summer or in the early fall. It wouldn't look so good for Pearl to take on a job while he awaits his fate in the NCAA, a fate many believe will include at least a one-year show cause, which means he wouldn't be able to work for any program for that duration.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com