Bruce Pearl, the former Tennessee coach and current ESPN analyst, is itching to get back to the sidelines, and it looks like it’ll be at Auburn. Pearl met with Auburn AD Jay Jacobs this week about the Tigers’ head coaching opening, and according to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, the two sides have reached an agreement.
It was a smart move by Pearl to get this out there early. Famously, he was fired by Tennessee in 2011 due to a recruiting violation (centering around point guard Aaron Craft). The NCAA hit him with a 3-year “show cause” for lying to NCAA investigators. The penalty ends on August 23rd. Auburn knew that Pearl would be a hot commodity – including at his last stop, Tennessee – so it moved quickly and probably paid handsomely to land him.
Pearl can’t have contact with recruits until late August, but he can go to summer tournaments and watch them. (If you’ve ever been to one of those, you know what a “bump” is. It’s the classic move where the coach “bumps” into a recruit *somewhere* and nobody sees it. Short of an NCAA person shadowing Pearl, there’s no way to stop this. And really, would that be money well spent by the understaffed NCAA, anyway?)
The last time the Tigers were good was when Cliff Ellis was cheating in the late 90s/early 00s. They had dunking Chris Porter, and landed on the cover of SI. In 2003 future pro Marquis Daniels led the Tigers to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Carmelo Anthony and eventual champ Syracuse.
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