UT officially announces Bruce Pearl is leaving

(UNDATED) -- Statement from University of Tennessee Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton:

Today, we are announcing that we have reached an agreement with Bruce Pearl that will result in him and his immediate staff being relieved of their duties with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball program. This is a difficult day for many obvious reasons.

Six years ago, Bruce Pearl arrived on our campus and renewed hope in Tennessee Basketball. He, his staff, and our student-athletes have allowed us as administrators and fans to enjoy unprecedented success and many victories during that time. He has become a friend to many and has done tremendous work in our community.

Upon receipt of our NCAA Letter of Inquiry in September, we made the difficult decision to forego common national opinion and forge ahead with Bruce and his staff pending any further major infractions or issues that would preclude our basketball program from representing the University of Tennessee in the right manner.

The months that followed have been difficult on everyone – our staff, our coaches, our administration, our fans and, certainly, our young men. During this time, the dynamics of our case with the NCAA have evolved further, including additional violations committed on September 14 and in March 2011. The cumulative effect of the evolution of the investigation combined with a number of more recent non-NCAA-related incidents have led to a belief that this staff cannot be viable at Tennessee in the future. Therefore, it is in the best interests of our institution to move in a different direction.

We have included separation terms that will detail more clearly our role in the transition for Coach Pearl and his assistant coaches. In the meantime, we have named native Tennessean and a former head coach, Houston Fancher, as interim coach during our hiring process.

Our search process will begin immediately. This is a great job and will attract a significant number of interested coaches. Much of that interest is a tribute to what Coach Pearl has helped to build, but more importantly, what our fans have built. We will take an appropriate amount of time, but will move as swiftly as is effective to bring this to conclusion.

Lastly, I want to apologize to our fans for my untimely comments prior to last week's NCAA appearance. While my comments were never intended for harm, they became an unneeded distraction to what has already been a year of distractions.

Terms of Agreement
• Head men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl will be paid at his current salary rate through June 30, 2011. He will also receive $50,000 per month for 12 months, from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, and will also receive health insurance costs. This cumulative figure is $948,728.
• Additionally, the men’s basketball coaching staff will each be paid at their current salary rate through July 31, 2011.


Statement from University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek:

In September, I said that Bruce Pearl was our coach and I expected him to be our coach for a long time.
I am disappointed with the events that have brought us to this point today, events that I would call “the cumulative effect of evolving circumstances.”
Since our September news conference, several instances have occurred that have caused us to change our position, as indicated in Mike’s comments.
I care about Coach Pearl and his family. I appreciate the job that he has done at Tennessee.
From the University’s perspective, this decision is an institutional decision, with counsel and input from many who know and love this university.
Mike Hamilton has kept me informed throughout the past weeks and I have been involved and engaged in the entire process.
I have kept the University of Tennessee system President informed, and he fully supports the steps that Mike and I have taken. The President, in turn, has communicated with the Board of Trustees.
I have personally stayed in contact with the Board of Trustees Vice-Chair, Jim Murphy.
Our job in administration is to weigh all the issues and all of the inputs—sometimes including details we cannot share—and then make tough decisions. Our goal is to weigh all of the information and ultimately do what is in the best interest of the University of Tennessee.
Going forward, I am confident that Mike Hamilton will find the right coach who can build on the foundation created over the past several years.
Mike Hamilton has my support. I join him in looking forward to continued success.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 24, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Bruce the Use Car Salesman. The guy was a lier, then tryed to cover it up. This a 'good" example for your players and the rest of the school. But then the salemen made out; $50,000 for 12 months and more, why?, but then you can see why, at UT it's sport over education, but then this is the state as a whole. All you have to do is look at how the state stacks up to the rest of the nation in education? near the botton.
  • by Lynda on Mar 23, 2011 at 08:29 PM
    Can you tell me why Tony Goins isn't being considered? Just like it was when the football team lost Lane Kiffin-a very good coach stepped up and delivered-but when it came to a choice he wasn't even considered-I hate to say it but UT doesn't like "color" to respresent them-and they could be the best if given a chance!
  • by Robert A. Dow Location: Maryville, TN on Mar 23, 2011 at 06:47 AM
    I think it is an outrage to lose Bruce Pearl. He made some mistakes but owned up to them. I think it's time to replace Athletic Director Mike Hamilton, instead of a great coach. Any coach that excels at their position, he fires. Bring Bruce back before we lose all the best players we have. Replace Hamilton.
  • by Brian Location: Harriman on Mar 22, 2011 at 06:30 PM
    I think they did Bruce wrong just like everyone else !!! We finally had a men's b-ball team to be proud of at UT I think like most its time for Mike Hamilton be cut as well !! If he was a REAL AD then he would have been on top of things in all the sports over there but he lies to make himself look better and to put blame on a coach's and get rid of them its time to kick him out and move on , what Bruce did was wrong But Mike Needs to Go !!and for Jimmy to be gone as well for sticking with Mike two of a kind in my book !!!
  • by Chris Location: Decatur, AL on Mar 22, 2011 at 03:31 PM
    Time for Mike Hamilton to be fired!! His mistakes for his hires and comments made last week about Pearls job status are too big to ignore.
  • by Angee Location: Clinton, TN on Mar 22, 2011 at 09:56 AM
    I met Bruce Pearl and was very impressed with his passion for not just basketball but for the causes in our community. However he took on a great responsibility not only to building a basketball team but to building the character of his players. We all make mistakes and forgiveness is necessary. But recognize Mr.Pearle had a position that gave him great influence on so many around him and that comes with the repsonsibility of doing the right thing. I'm sure if he could relive his decisions he would reverse the bad judgement that he used. Others,such as Mike Hamilton did not influence the decisions Mr. Pearle made but he and others are having to deal with the fallout of those choices. Mr. Pearle required integrity from his players and staff but unfortunately chose not to display integrity in his actions. I wish Mr. Pearle the best in his future endeavors and believe he is a good man that used bad judgement and I'll bet he would tell you the same thing. Let't not nail anyone to the cross and that includes those that were forced to make some very unpopular decisions.
  • by Doug S. Location: Len on Mar 22, 2011 at 09:35 AM
    He cheated, got caught and did it again, and people want to keep Him, i'm Miffed! The crediability of a honest win is more important than just winning!
    • reply
      by vic on Mar 23, 2011 at 08:51 AM in reply to Doug S.
      what about the credibility of hamilton and cheek?they assured us they would stand behind him..mike hamilton assured recrutes and their families on Mar 6th bruce would be our coach...don't give me...the "other violations"...those are for the witch hunt..to sway public opinion...they already have their replacement,they did when hamilton made his staged comments last wk. you want crediability???let's start at the top!!!
  • by Brent Allen Location: Gatlinburg, TN on Mar 22, 2011 at 09:04 AM
    FIRE MIKE HAMILITON! That simple! He has been a complete joke and disgrace as Athletic Director. Lane Kiffin, Pearl and who knows what else. He is a embarrassment to Tennessee! So fire the flat nose dummy and send him packing like he has done out athletic program.
  • by Mike Location: Knoxville on Mar 22, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    Rumors are coming out now that UT sacrificed Bruce to protect against a vindictive NCAA investigation looking deeper into the football program. If they lose football revenue, we Tennesseans might have to pay a state income tax. It's all about money and has been since Hamilton took over. I like Dooley but why do we have to pay 70 bucks until he has a winner? And now we will have to pay $35 to watch a basketball team that will never have the same excitement again. Solution: Fire Hamilton; let Pat Summitt coach the men for 2 years; hire Bruce back after his suspension; and forget the whole thing happened. Also, let everybody in the games for $10 until we can watch a game worth spending more.
  • by Cletus Location: TN on Mar 22, 2011 at 07:43 AM
    MIke Hamilton is such a slimy joke, first he hires someone that should have never been hired and set us behind in football for years to come, THEN he fires someone who should have never been fired, Pearl was the greatest BBall coach we ever had and Hamilton just sent him packin, so who am i cheering for: my athletic director? NO i want to cheer for UT but Hamilton is making that hard, he needs to go back to wherever it is hobbits come from. I've completely lost any interest in UT basketball, thanks Mike Hamilton your a JOKE!
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