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article imageNCAA: Tennessee dumps Pearl

By Michael Bearak     Mar 21, 2011 in Sports
Word is leaking out of Knoxville, Tennessee that the University of Tennessee has fired Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl. The University and Pearl are embattled in an NCAA investigation.
It is being reported that that the University of Tennessee has fired their Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl after the team was drubbed by the University of Michigan in the NCAA Tournament last week. ESPN reported that the decision was told to Pearl and his coaching staff that they were all being fired.
The University had stood firmly behead Pearl after receiving a letter of inquiry back in September of 2010. Pearl made a tearful statement that he had actually mislead NCAA investigators on September 10th concerning a cookout at his home that involved high school juniors. Afterwards Pearl was charged with unethical conduct and suspended. After that the University stood behind Pearl until December when they found out that just four days after his tearful press conference that he had violated yet another NCAA rule where he contacted a high school junior in Georgia.
Pearl served as the Vols' head coach for six years and brought the Volunteers to six straight NCAA appearances and compiled a 145-61 record. He even led the team to the Elite Eight in 2010 missing a Final Four appearance by one-point. In 2008 he led the Vols to their first number-one ranking and their first NCAA tournament regional finals appearance.
Pearl was also known for a number of other things besides just being a successful Vols coach. He was very active in the Knoxville community, endowed the scholarship in the name of former Vol Dane Bradshaw. While he was known for wearing a very loud orange sport coat while walking the sidelines his games, he gained even more attention for showing up at a Lady Vols' game with a painted bare-chest.
In the end though it is being reported by ESPN that the University turned on Pearl after the revelation that he violated the NCAA's "Bump" rule back in September. Last week the Athletic Director was on a local radio program and he noted that the jury was still out on Pearl's future with Tennessee. After the team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Michigan 75-45, just two days earlier Pearl had received a vote-of-no-confidence from Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton.
The announcement hasn't been made official yet even though Pearl met with Hamilton by himself and then later with his assistance for another 20 minutes. An announcement is expected soon.
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