Report: Pearl considers chance to return to coaching in D-League

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 4:30pm
Staff reports

Bruce Pearl’s break from coaching might not be a long one.

The former University of Tennessee coach reportedly was in talks with the Texas Legends, a franchise in the NBA’s Development League, on Wednesday about their vacant head coach position.

ESPN.com reports the job with the Legends, located in Frisco, Texas, is Pearl’s if he wants it.

It would be a quick return to coaching for Pearl after an unceremonious end with the Volunteers.

Pearl was fired by Tennessee in March after numerous recruiting violations led the NCAA to charge him with unethical conduct last September. He went before the committee on infractions in June and the NCAA could suspend him from college coaching.

In six seasons at UT, Pearl was 145-61 and led the Volunteers to the NCAA Tournament all six years, reaching the Elite Eight in 2010. Last season got off to a rocky start even before the first game as it was discovered Pearl lied to NCAA investigators. He was punished by Tennessee as the school reduced his salary and the Southeastern Conference suspended him for the first eight league games.

Reportedly, Pearl already had received interest from another D-League team, the Maine Red Claws back in May. But the Red Claws instead hired former University of Virginia coach Dave Leitao.

It wouldn’t be the first time a former embattled college coach tried out the D-League waters.

Former Missouri coach Quin Snyder is a success story of sorts. After seven seasons at Missouri, which included an Elite Eight appearance, Snyder resigned in 2006 amidst NCAA and FBI investigations.

Following a year off from coaching, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Austin Toros. He led them to the semifinals twice and league finals once before landing a job in player development with the Philadelphia 76ers.

In July he was hired to be an assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers under new head coach Mike Brown.