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Pearl Says His Dismissal At UT Was Part Of God’s Plan

Asked on Nashville radio station WGFX-FM about his downfall at Tennessee, former Vol hoops coach Bruce Pearl took a particularly Calvinistic view of his situation yesterday afternoon:

“Unfortunately (the NCAA interview that eventually cost him his job) is in my mind, it is in my heart.  When you wake up, when you got to bed, it crosses your mind all the time.  But that’s a cross that I’ve got to bear and it’s not just that interview, but it’s how everything turned out.  I continue to swallow a major pill of accountability. … God’s got a plan and His plan was that we were going to be done coaching at Tennessee at this time.  That was His plan.  And we’re going to follow it, follow it with as much honor and integrity as we can.  But I’m not going to deny that we’re sad and that we’re disappointed.”

Now, on a personal level, I’m not big on the Calvinistic view of pre-destiny.  I’m not saying it’s wrong, just saying it’s not the take of yours truly.  For millions, however, “It was His plan” is used to explain all sorts of horrible unexplainables every day.

Why did the child die of cancer?  “God’s plan.”

Why did the jet airliner crash?  “God’s plan.”

Why was the World Trade Center attacked?  “God’s plan.”

Count me among those who would like to believe that if there is a God out there, he invented us to be more than just fleshy chess pieces that he pushes across his big board in the sky.

So, did Pearl lie to NCAA investigators because God willed it?  Again, many would argue yes.  I’ll argue no.

I think it’s much more likely that Pearl lied to the NCAA because he — like anyone reading (or writing) this site’s words — is a flawed human being.  He lied about a barbecue and it cost him his job.  If there’s a God out there who enjoys making his creatures suffer like that, I don’t know that I’d be much of a fan.

No, I’m guessing God is who Pearl should be turning to now.  Instead of thinking about what God planned for him aeons ago, Pearl should focus on how his God can help him get ready for his own personal Act II.  And if Pearl wants forgiveness for his actions, he’ll find that with God long before he finds it from most human beings.  Especially since he happened to be a coach.

Pearl has built-in supporters and detractors who don’t gave a hoot about the facts of his case.  He’s either “our beloved Bruce” or “their scumbag Pearl.”  When he says this — as he did on radio yesterday –  “We didn’t have ineligible student-athletes, and we didn’t pay players, and there weren’t agents involved, and there was no academic fraud”… it leaves Vol fans to say, “Amen!” and rival fans to yell, “Stone him!”

Did Pearl make his own bed by lying to investigators?  Yep, and that’s a top sin when it comes to the NCAA.  That lie eventually cost him what he had turned into one of the 20 best basketball jobs in the country.  So while I don’t think his lie and dismissal were part of some divine plan, I do believe his downfall was of Biblical proportions.


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