AUBURN, Ala. (WHNT) – Auburn fans have new hope for their men’s basketball team. Athletics Director Jay Jacobs made the decision to pick up Bruce Pearl as the Tigers’ new head basketball coach. The decision comes after an abysmal record over the past four years under former Head Coach Tony Barbee, who was let go six days ago.
Pearl is the former head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee.
The Auburn Plainsman tweeted several stories on the Auburn athletics department’s new addition. They put out an all-call encouraging fans to greet Pearl at Auburn University Regional Airport this afternoon. The Plainsman tweeted pictures later of a crowd of fans at the airport.
photo courtesy: AL.com
The new acquisition is one in a string of coaches Jacobs has hired to revitalize Auburn athletics. So far, those decisions have proved to be good calls. His most notable hire being Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn.
Pearl’s resume is impressive with an overall record of 231-99 as a head coach in NCAA Division I basketball over a 10 year period. He started his head coaching career at Southern Illinois, which is a Division II school. There he won the National Championship for Division II in 1995. After that he went to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee were he won the Horizon Regular Season Championship and Tournament in 2004 and 2005. In his time as head coach at the University of Tennessee, Pearl made the NCAA tournament all six years he was there. He won the SEC Regular Season Championship in 2008, got to the Sweet 16 in 2007 and 2008, and went to the Elite 8 in 2010.
Pearl lost his head coaching job at the university in 2011 after an investigation for NCAA recruiting violations at Tennessee. He’s finishing up a three year show-of-cause penalty period after the incident.
The new head coach has been working as an ESPN analyst and vice president of marketing for the H.T. Hackney Company during the off period since he was let go from Tennessee’s program.
The announcement comes on Pearl’s 54th birthday, according to our news partners at AL.com. He said he’s excited to be back in the game he loves, and it’s time to rebuild the men’s basketball program to get on the same level with other successful Auburn athletics.