'We Want Bruce!' Fans rally to support coach Bruce Pearl

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/AP) -- Roughly 100 Volunteer fans made their way to the Tennessee campus Sunday afternoon to show their support for Vols' head coach Bruce Pearl.

Pearl is waiting to learn his fate as the team's basketball coach.

Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday that Pearl would be evaluated after the Vols' season ended. Tennessee lost 75-45 to Michigan in its opener at the NCAA tournament Friday.

The NCAA charged Pearl with unethical conduct and other recruiting violations after he revealed he lied during an investigation into recruiting.

Fans chanted "We Want Bruce" during the rally. Some supporters wore T-shirts that read: "Team Pearl," "I am Bruce," and "Bruce for President."

Parker Williams, a student at Catholic and a friend of the Pearl family, organized the rally. She posted a Facebook group called "Keep Bruce Pearl" Saturday night at 7 pm.

Within hours, the page had more than 4,700 "likes".

"I think he's a good person in general and not just a basketball coach," Williams said. "He's a leader and a role model for everyone," she added.

Knoxville resident Marc Maxwell was on hand for Sunday's rally. Despite any potential punishment from the NCAA, he says he's behind Pearl 100 percent.

"I've sat in that arena when we were 5-22 and I appreciate all he's done for the university and community," Maxwell told WVLT. "I think the university is overreacting. I don't feel like you should get the needle for jaywalking."

Pearl's body of work at Tennessee is unmatched. He's coached the program to a record six straight NCAA tournament appearances, including the program's first trip to the Elite 8 in 2010.


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  • by Keith Location: Knoxville on Mar 22, 2011 at 06:42 AM
    Keep Pearl, get rid of Hamilton. There are few coaches that can build a program, like Coach K (Duke), Izzo (MSU), Self and Donovan. Pearl is in this same league. Already future recruits are dropping out of their commitments with UT. I will not support UT Basketball in the future without Pearl.
  • by Elizabeth Location: Tennessee on Mar 21, 2011 at 06:14 PM
    His coaching style won games & did a lot for the men's team...Folks, he's human like the rest of us. He wins at what he was hired to do. Hamilton...Not so much. His time is up, too. Put Holloway or Fulmer in there. I think we have a good one with Dooley, and hopefully we get another good men's coach and next year's recruiting class isn't down the toilet. But I think Hamilton's time is up. Get this clown off the stage...We'll miss ya Bruce! Thanks for everything!
  • by JERRY Location: KNOX TN on Mar 21, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    KEEP PEARL. HE HAS ALREADY PAID FOR MISTAKE. BEST COACH EVER HERE.HAMILTON NEEDS TO LEAVE. THERE GOES TICKET SALES.......
  • by cabowabo Location: tricities on Mar 21, 2011 at 05:07 PM
    M. Hamilton should be fired also. I dont feel that he represents the best interests of The University Of Tennessee,and has done a VERY POOR JOB!
  • by TC Location: Seymour on Mar 21, 2011 at 04:38 PM
    Charismatic is not bad. Enthusiastic is not bad. Unethical is bad. Sad but true, Pearl deserves to be gone. Great coach. He'll land on his feet having learned from his mistakes. There's a team out there heading to the tournament that hasn't been there before.
  • by eddie on Mar 21, 2011 at 04:32 PM
    I wont support the program anymore becouse he was the best thing for ut basketball so I hope hamilton is happy that he got his tale out of the way but if he had done his job this would not have happend
  • by David Location: Knoxville on Mar 21, 2011 at 04:20 PM
    As an alumnus of UT and a long time Vol fan, I know that Bruce Pearl brought "fire in the belly" to UT basketball for the first in many years! He is the only proven winner that Mike Hamilton has hired in his tenure. Hamilton deserves to be terminated forthwith! His comments prior to the Michigan game caused irrepairable damge!
  • by Ali Location: Rockford on Mar 21, 2011 at 02:31 PM
    Mike Hamilton you are an idiot! this is worse decision yet for UT sports. Bruce Pearl is what got the men's basketball program actually going some where.
  • by Captain Video Location: Knoxville on Mar 21, 2011 at 01:04 PM
    Bruce Pearl: Made mistakes?-Yes. Paid enough for mistakes?-Looks like it. Mike Hamilton paid for mistakes? - No Future of Men's Basketball at UT without Pearl = As in the Past--- Uneventual UT Men's Basketball & empty seats.
  • by JERRY Location: HALLS, TN on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM
    THIS IS A DIFFICULT TIME FOR VOL FANS AND UT ADMINISTRATORS. THE FANS BY IN LARGE LIKE AND SUPPORT PEARL AND THE ADMIN. SEEMS AFRAID OF NCAA SANCTIONS. MISTAKES HAVE BEEN MADE ON BOTH SIDES. PEARL HAS TAKEN UT BASKETBALL TO HEIGHTS UNKNOWN FOR MANY YEARS AND THE FUTURE LOOKS GREAT. BOTH PEARL AND HAMILTON DESERVE A SECOND CHANCE; THEN IF THEY ERR AGAIN, THE ADMIN CAN FIRE EITHER OR BOTH WITH FAN SUPPORT AND UT CAN MOVE FORWARD.

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