Coach Pearl celebrates with fans Coach Bruce Pearl arrives at Auburn University Regional Airport in Auburn, AL on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Zach Bland
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – New Auburn coach Bruce Pearl wasted no time making an impression.
The former Tennessee coach sprung for pizza for several hundred students Tuesday a few hours after arriving in town, some of whom took selfies posing next to him. Then he told a couple thousand fans at Auburn Arena: “We’re fixing to get Auburn into that position where we’ll be going to the NCAA tournament.”
The Tigers turned to Pearl Tuesday to revive a struggling basketball program that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in more than a decade. Athletic director Jay Jacobs landed his top target with a 6-year deal worth $2.2 million annually less than a week after firing Tony Barbee.
Pearl remains under a show-cause penalty from the NCAA barring him from recruiting until Aug. 23.
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