Pearl Featured in Sports Illustrated

By: Wes Boling Email
By: Wes Boling Email

(WVLT) - Bruce Pearl has made headlines yet again -- this time as the subject of a feature in Sports Illustrated.

Writer Grant Wahl labels Pearl as "basketball's clown prince," joining the coach on a Labor Day boat ride and observing him at a team workout.

The article breaches numerous subjects, including the coach's inimitable work ethic, his relationship with Pat Summitt, and even his recent divorce.

Pearl tells Wahl he said to his team regarding the divorce, "Fellas, I talk the talk a lot, but I try and walk the walk. I ask God to forgive me every single day because I fail him all the time, and I'm going to ask you to forgive me too."

The feature also chronicles Pearl's rise to the Division I ranks, which hit a substantial roadblock in 1990 when, as an Iowa assistant, he videotaped a conversation in which a recruit indicated that Illinois had offered him cash and a car. The fallout from the event included death threats from Illinois fans, and even a pair of physical confrontations, after which, "they were sorry they started it," Pearl said.

The event characterized, perhaps more than any other, Pearl's fiercely competitive spirit, which he admits often comes across as over-the-top.

"Don't pay attention to how I'm delivering the message, pay attention to the message," Pearl told Wahl. "Don't pay attention to the naked man wearing orange, pay attention to the message of school spirit. Don't pay attention to the fact that I had to record a telephone conversation, pay attention to the message: Do what's right, even if it's unpopular."

The article, entitled "Oh Boy, There He Goes Again. Bruce Pearl's Got His Shirt Off" can be found inside the Oct. 15 issue of Sports Illustrated.


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