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Parrish: Pearl Should Follow Sampson’s Second Chance Path

Gary Parrish of believes ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl should follow the lead of former Oklahoma and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson.  Of course, in some ways he already has. 

While Pearl didn’t make the number of illegal phone calls that Sampson did, impermissible calls led to his troubles.  And like Sampson, Pearl figures to face a show cause ban from the NCAA that will keep him away from the college game for a year or more.

But Parrish thinks Pearl should eye Sampson’s rebirth in the NBA… and possibly follow the same plan of rehabilitation.

“Disgraced and essentially banned by the NCAA at the age of 52, Sampson didn’t spend a year playing golf or hiding or talking on television.  He’s a basketball coach who wanted to coach basketball, and because he’s a respected mind, especially on the defensive end, he was never going to have a difficult time landing an assistant’s position in the NBA.”

Sounds good, but Parrish also points out that the NBA “is a job for a basketball coach” while the college job “is a job for a recruiter and marketer.” 

Clearly, Pearl’s reputation was built on marketing himself and his programs — at Tennessee and tiny Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  But the man won a lot of games against equal competition at Division II Southern Indiana before heading to UWM and UT.  In fact, he was the sixth-fastest coach in NCAA history to reach 400 career wins.

Pearl was recently rumored to be talking to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s Developmental League about their head coaching position, but he has told friends and media members that he would be very interesting in working in television during the upcoming basketball season.



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