Pearl's ouster 'is in the best interest of the University of Tennessee'

Monday, March 21, 2011 at 3:28pm
Staff reports

Word spread far and wide throughout Monday afternoon that Bruce Pearl was fired as men’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.

Reports from numerous media outlets delivered the news that most had expected for days, if not weeks, given the scrutiny Pearl has been under by the NCAA for recruiting violations and his admitted lies when first questioned about those violations.

Only one thing was missing. There was no official word from the university.

That finally came late Monday. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton both released statements attached to a release, which said the university “reached an agreement with head men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl that will relieve Pearl and his immediate staff of their duties.”

That agreement calls for Pearl to be paid at his current salary rate through June 30. From there, he will receive $50,000 per month for he next 12 months (a total of $600,000). He also will continue to receive health insurance costs through June 30, 2012. Also, the remaining members of the staff will be paid at their current salary rates through this July.

The total value of Pearl’s severance package is listed at $948,728.

Additionally, Houston Fancher, the program’s coordinator of video and scouting last season, was named interim coach.
“I am disappointed with the events that have brought us to this point … events that I would call ‘the cumulative effect of evolving circumstances,’” Cheek’s statement said, in part. “… From the University’s perspective, this decision is an institutional decision, with counsel and input from many who know and love this university.”

Cheek added that Hamilton has been charged with finding UT’s next coach.

“Our search process will begin immediately,” Hamilton said in his statement. “This is a great job and will attract a significant number of interested coaches. Much of that interest is a tribute to what Coach Pearl has helped build. But more importantly, what our fans have built.”

Pearl, 51, had a 145-61 record and six straight NCAA Tournament appearances in six years at UT. In 2010, he guided the Volunteers to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

A message posted on his Facebook page said it was “perhaps the saddest day in my life. I loved everything about Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Volunteers. These were the best years of my life!”

Fancher, a Tennessee native, was head coach at Appalachian State and spent one season (1995-96) with Vanderbilt.

“I care about Coach Pearl and his family,” Cheek’s statement said. “I appreciate the job he has done at Tennessee … [but] our job in administration is to weigh all the issues and all of the inputs — sometimes including details we cannot share — and then make tough decisions. Our goal is to weigh all of the information and ultimately do what is in the best interest of the University of Tennessee.”

10 Comments on this post:

By: jsnap on 3/21/11 at 2:38

Whatever school gets Pearl will be getting a heck of a coach. He will be a lot more careful in the future.

By: TheHunter on 3/21/11 at 3:09

Bruce Pearl's personal & coaching life beg to differ jsnap

By: lawburgtn on 3/21/11 at 3:15

Mike Hamilton should be fired as well. They say the NCAA hinted at stronger sanctions unless Pearl was gone. Hamilton was at the helm while Kiffin and Pearl violated NCAA rules. He is ultimately responsible for the actions of his coaches because he did not follow up on their actions. Sorry Mike, you are the weakest link....goodbye!!!

By: localboy on 3/21/11 at 4:13

Please oh please don't let Mike Hamilton hire the next coach.

By: richgoose on 3/21/11 at 4:18

LAWBURGTN..........I could not agree with your more!

By: Nitzche on 3/21/11 at 5:18

Is he Gay? why else would they fire him?

By: fdanshep on 3/22/11 at 6:27

Let's face it, Cheek had no choice. We can gripe and vent but the NCAA was going to hammer UT if he stayed.

Mike Hamilton showed his lack of administrative prowess by his comments just prior to the start of the Tournament. It was not the only time that he showed lack of administrative ability. His selection to get the job was more a chair promotion than UT going out and finding the best man for the job. He needs to go!

If he does go. I suspect that Bruce Pearl will have another head coaching job long before he gets another AD job.

By: 67eastnash on 3/22/11 at 6:47

How 'bout coming over to Vandy. Tired of the 3 years of first round and OUT! Talk about boosting ticket sales and increasing interstate rivalry.

By: JDG on 3/22/11 at 7:23

The NCAA will most likely review any hire with a "show casuse" request, meaning a school will have to prove that the hire is both necessary and that proper institutional control will be executed.

By: royt5 on 3/22/11 at 7:46

I don't know why any school would want to hire a coach that is an admitted cheater and liar, and apparently not just once. If someone will do the things that he got caught for, how do we know he hasn't done those things many times before, without getting caught? How do we know he didn't cheat to get the recruits that he had to raise UT's level of interest? I think that it is a shame that so much pressure is put on these coaches that make them do anything possible to produce a winning team. We may have just saw the tip of the iceburg, with a lot of the ice still under the water. You have to respect coaches that do things the right way, and still have pretty good success.