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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pearl Gets It

As a University of Alabama sports fan of anything, (particularly football) I'm supposed to be suspicious of anything going on in Knoxville, TN regarding the University of Tennessee.

But I must admit to being rather jealous of the goings on concerning Bruce Pearl and his Vol basketball program. Post Don Devoe, a series of dubious hirings at the head coaching position left the program on life support. The 25,000 seat Thompson-Boling arena had not been sold out in recent memory and even the thought of a Vol basketball program popular enough to draw that level of interest was unfathomable.

Enter Pearl. After questionable decisions left him coaching at Wisconsin/Milwaukee, he gratefully accepted the UT offer. Little he's done since can be seen as anything but wildly successful. Pearl threw himself into the job and the UT faithful have bought in to what Bruce is cooking to the tune of a packed arena night after night this past season. Tennessee basketball fans have even taken to the road following the Vols thru the SEC season in unprecedented numbers. Head football coach Phil Fulmer has been seen at b'ball games trying to ride the Pearl wave.

Even this past week when the news of Duke Crews and Ramar Smith being dismissed from the team was released, it was overshadowed by the feel-good story of Chris Lofton playing while battling testicular cancer on the down/low.

Yes, Bruce Pearl might have made some questionable career moves way back. But after getting his second chance, he's done very little wrong.

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