In his first interview since being fired by the University of Tennessee, Bruce Pearl told Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone that he thinks he’ll get another chance at coaching in college basketball again. Pearl was fired on March 21 for committing multiple NCAA violations. Despite that, he thinks he will coach again.
“I do think that I’m going to have the opportunity to coach again. I’ve got to wait and see what the Committee on Infractions, what they say, probably coming up sometime in the middle of August and how quickly they will allow me to come back into coaching. That’s going to go a long way towards whether or not I do coach again.”
At the time of his firing, Pearl was under investigation for inappropriate contact with recruits and providing false information to the NCAA during the investigation. In the interview today Pearl claimed he was asked roughly 150 questions and answered 148 of them honestly. He says that if he had answered those other two questions honestly he’d probably still have his job.
Uh, yeah, probably Bruce. Think that fact stings a little?
“Do you want me to write the book about how do you lose $10 million jobs? I can write the book. How can you be so dumb and careless? It’s not so much about what we did, it’s how we handled it.”
The thing about Pearl is that we don’t think he’s a bad guy, he just did some really dumb stuff, then lied about it. Then committed another recruiting violation a few days later and failed to report it. Yeah, that’s bad, but certainly not the worst thing we’ve ever seen.
This wasn’t like Jim Tressel at Ohio State, where there was rampant, institutional rule breaking happening on a staggering level. Pearl was trying to skirt around some rules and gain advantages where he could. It was wrong and he got caught. The problem for Pearl came when he lied to the NCAA and tried to cover it up. While he’s always seemed like a nice guy with a great personality, we don’t feel bad for him.
Here’s the lesson kids: don’t lie to the NCAA when they come calling.