Just days after his team was eliminated in a 30-point loss in its opening game in the NCAA tournament, Bruce Pearl has been fired by the University of Tennessee, according to multiple reports.
The firing comes after a season that began with Pearl being accused of lying to the NCAA during an investigation into his recruiting practices. Last September, Pearl apologized as he admitted giving investigators “incorrect and misleading” information about a cookout at his home that was attended by juniors in high school. The NCAA has charged both Tennessee’s basketball and football programs with a dozen violations.
Tennessee punished Pearl by docking his salary by $1.5 million over five years, banning him from off-campus recruiting for a year and terminating his contract in September. In addition, Pearl was suspended from Southeastern Conference play for eight games.
Although Athletic Director Mike Hamilton and Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek had supported Pearl after his admission, it was becoming increasingly apparent that their support was wavering. Pearl was asked about his future at Tennessee after the NCAA loss to Michigan by ESPN’s Andy Katz (video above) and admitted as much. “I think the good’s going to outweigh the bad,” he told Katz. “I always want to be at my best when things are worst.”
Pearl was 145-61 at the school and coached the Vols to their first No. 1 ranking.
Associated Press information is included.