It may have taken 20 years, but Bruce Pearl, alleged human being and coach of the Tennessee Volunteers basketball program, may finally get his. The story broke late last week. The Vols are being probed for both football and basketball recruiting violations (the SEC motto: If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’), and Pearl made it worse by lying to NCAA investigators. And we quote him:
I learned that it’s not OK to tell the truth most of the time, but you’ve got to tell the truth all of the time.
What is Pearl now – 60? And he’s just now learning that lesson? In Illinois this comes as no surprise. We’ve known this man for a sleazy, lying, do-and-say-anything-to-get-ahead scumbag since he single-handedly scuttled Lou Henson’s hoops momentum in the early 90s over the recruitment of Deon Thomas. Yet you won’t find any mention of Pearl’s involvement in that travesty with the above-linked ESPN news story, and Michael Rosenberg, college basketball writer for Sports Illustrate apparently needs to brush up on his history as well (referring to Pearl as a heroic whistle blower? Ugh. Get your facts right before going to press…)
Fortunately, the venerable one, Loren Tate checked in to review the situation over at IlliniHQ, and where you can also find a link to an earlier story written when Pearl’s UW-Milwaukee and Jimmy Collins’ UIC Flames faced off in the Horizon League. Tate covered the whole affair exhaustively at the time and still feels Illinois got the shaft, and that Pearl was a true villain who lied and cheated to damage Henson’s basketball program. At Beemsville, we couldn’t agree more. We look forward to the eventual NCAA sanctions with some satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Lou and Jimmy Collins have both retired, and Deon Thomas has embarked on his own coaching career (at DII Lewis and Clark College, perhaps on the Orange & Blue staff in the future?). No doubt they all shared a smile last week. It’s only too bad Pearls has parlayed this into millions of dollars for himself. With any luck this is the beginning of the end of his coaching career.