On Friday, Bruce Pearl delivered a message to those who are pushing for his return to Tennessee: please stop.
“Bruce Pearl told me today that fans wishing for his return is counterproductive to UT’s program and unfair to players and Cuonzo Martin,” Sports Animal host Jimmy Hyams tweeted.
“Pearl said UT fans need to support the program, the players and Martin. He said distractions hurt his last team at Tennessee,” added Hyams in a follow-up tweet.
Pearl coached the Vols from 2005-11. He compiled a 145-61 record, averaged more than 24 wins per season and led UT to a school-record six consecutive NCAA tournaments, including its first Elite Eight appearance.
But his remarkable run got messy when he ran afoul of NCAA rules and lied about it. Anyone reading this knows the story. Pearl was fired after the 2011 season and given a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA.
The penalty ends in August, which is why some who are frustrated by the Vols’ 6-4 start this season want Pearl back.
Clay Travis of FOX Sports 1 and OutKick The Coverage has fanned the flames by campaigning for the re-hire on his website and radio shows.
Pearl, at least publicly, isn’t on board.