The University of Tennessee’s worst kept secret was revealed Monday afternoon, firing Men’s Basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
Pearl’s dismissal was sealed by the Volunteers’ 75-45 loss to the Michigan Wolverines in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This also stems from alleged recruiting violations, which resulted in an 8-game suspension during SEC play for Pearl.
This is just another chapter in the problems at Tennessee since Lane Kiffin was named the program’s football coach two years ago. Kiffin immediately committed recruiting violations, which got the NCAA looking into the program.
What the NCAA found was a whole can of worms within the Tennessee athletics programs. The focus was suddenly shifted to the men’s basketball program.
Pearl is very enthusiastic about basketball, his players, and the Tennessee Volunteers. Name me another coach that would stand in the student section painted up for a women’s basketball game.
Pearl was the best thing to happen to the Tennessee athletics program in years. If there is anyone that should be fired is Athletics Director Mike Hamilton.
In the last 3 years, one of the proudest athletic’s departments in the country, has quickly become the laughing-stock of the SEC and the country.
Hamilton’s ability as an athletic’s director came under scrutiny, especially sticking behind Kiffin and Pearl, often denying any allegations of wrong-doing of either program.
During that time, the NCAA was investigating the program, Hamilton continued to deny, and stood behind his coaches.
Yes, Pearl lied. Yes, Pearl had an embarrassing loss in his final game as coach. Fans in Tennessee still love Pearl, but ultimately, Pearl is not the only one responsible.
Hamilton has let the Tennessee program fall to shambles under his watch. Pearl knows what he did wrong, and why he is no longer employed. He will find a job again, but my suggestion for him would be to go under the radar for a year or so (do television).
However, Hamilton should also be fired. Too much has happened for one to believe that he is capable of continuing to run the University of Tennessee.
UPDATE: Late Monday evening, following the announcement firing Pearl, Hamilton and school Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced that there was another potential violation by Pearl and his staff earlier this month.
If this is true, which all reports indicate, the argument for not firing Pearl fall-apart. However, the argument to fire Hamilton strengthens. Hamilton continuously fails to keep a close watch to the troubled basketball program.