Some prodding by an acquaintance led me to this post. So here are my thoughts on the firing of Bruce Pearl.
It stinks. I hate it. And I want Mike Hamilton gone. As you know men's basketball is third fiddle at UT. It's football, women's hoops then men's hoops. That's just the way it is. When I was at UT we had Jerry Green. I never missed a football game and went to many women's games. I went to men's basketball games back then to see who we were playing. During his tenure, Green led UT to the NCAA tournament 4 years in a row. Excitement surrounded the men's program in Knoxville. I even wore a shirt that said "UT's got the Green Light". Then BUZZ hit town and the dream died. DIED DIED DIED. Four years of the NCAA tournament turned into NO years in the tournament. As a matter of fact I'm not really sure who was on the team back then.
Then Bruce Pearl was hired.
Do you remember his first season at UT? No? I do. The VOLS went 22-8. Yes. It remains one of the best season records in Tennessee history. We don't really do single digit losses in basketball unless it's the women's team.
His second season was the year that he dressed in orange body paint to cheer on the Lady Vols against Duke. It was in a word- AWESOME. Then Pat Summitt, who isn't really the cheerleader type, repaid the support by dressing like a cheerleader and singing Rocky Top at a men's game. Are you serious? Pat Summitt? I loved it. Oh but wait- what did they do on the court that year? Got to the Sweet Sixteen in the tournament. AGAIN! No way. Not two years in a row.
His third season- I'll keep it short. The VOLS were ranked #1 in the country. True- it only lasted a few days but it still felt GREAT!
In his fourth season the VOLS went to the school's first Elite Eight. Enough said. That year our total victories (31) was the most in school history.
Yes Bruce Pearl lied. But I can't say I wasn't excited about basketball for the first time in my life. I am a football girl who lives for March Madness now due to the fact that the Vols have been involved as of late. I love what Bruce Pearl did in the way of changing the culture of Tennessee sports to include basketball. Whoever the Vols hire will have a huge task ahead of him. First he has to be OK with being third. Bruce was not only ok with that but he made the third team a good one that we could be proud of. Second, the NCAA is not done with UT so the new coaching staff is going to be rebuilding for awhile. Third, do you want to work for Mike Hamilton? Who's going to throw you under the bus the day before your first round game or FIRE you on the same day his women's hoops team is playing in their tournament. Smooth move Mike.
I'm not happy about this.
PS- To all the Illinois fans that keep bringing up what he did to you all those years ago- get over it. I was 10. I don't care. Save it for someone who does. Try beating Ohio State or something.