Since his NCAA-related ouster from Tennessee last March, Bruce Pearl has decided to stay in Knoxville and he’s taken a job as the vice president of a grocery supply company. Now he’s about to launch a media career:
“I enjoy dealing with our vendors and customers (at the HT Hackney company), and I’m using my degree in business and marketing. But these media opportunities are also what I envisioned when they (the NCAA) told me I couldn’t coach anymore.”
Pearl told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he will become a regular on Sirius XM radio, on the Tim Brando radio show, and on a radio station in Nashville.
“I felt like it would be unfair and unnecessary scrutiny on the current (Tennessee) staff. I support Coach (Cuonzo) Martin and wish our players well. I miss them. But I feel the best way I can support them is to stay out of the way.”
For weeks after his dismissal Pearl continued to be seen on the UT campus. That fact raised a few eyebrows. And sources close to the ex-coach have said that he would like to one day return to his old office as Tennessee’s next basketball coach.
So it’s a bit of a surprise that he turned down chances to do media work in East Tennessee. But it’s also a class move on Pearl’s part.
Martin is walking into a tough situation to begin with. The cupboard is bare in terms of proven talent. And many fans are already writing him off, angry that Pearl — now a Robin Hood figure for some — was driven away. There is already talk among some fans of bringing back Bruce.
That last thing Martin needed was to have the man he replaced critiquing his work in the Knoxville media.