Is Bruce Pearl a Legend?

ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth reports:

The Texas Legends are making a hard push to hire former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to replace Nancy Lieberman as coach of the D-League franchise, according to NBA coaching sources.

Pearl told’s Andy Katz that he will interview with the team Thursday in Dallas.

“When the world champions call you have to listen,” Pearl said. “Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have been great and I’m looking forward to talking to them.”

Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson heads the management team as Legends co-owner.

Sources told that there have been ongoing negotiations between the parties.

Said one source: “The job is [Pearl’s] if he wants it.”

Mark Stein calls it “a logical step for Pearl in his quest to break into the NBA,” while acknowledging Pearl’s viability as a college basketball analyst.

At age fifty-one, the disgraced former University of Tennessee coach (whose team color is unintentionally represented in this site’s hyperlinks) is too young to retire, and he admits, “right now, college is not an option for me.” Pearl is known as a player motivator, so maybe he’ll find the D-Leaguers possessed of fertile souls he can shape and, well, develop.

Pearl probably fancies himself too much of a winner (“Some of his career highlights include posting a 145-61 record while coaching the Volunteers to six NCAA tournament appearances. He also won the 2008 Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year award.“)  to take this path to the NBA bench, if that really is his goal and the D-League really is a viable path to the NBA bench.

The lines between news, opinion, and business at ESPN probably are as blurred as Jon Stewart thinks they are at Fox News, so it’s hard to know what to make of Stein’s reference to Pearl’s potential as an analyst, but that seems like the obvious approach for someone who loves the spotlight and needs to be in the minds of those he ultimately wants to hire him. Even if the NBA loses its entire season next year, nobody’s going to watch the D-League, and Mark Cuban isn’t going to pay Pearl enough to compensate Pearl for that exposure gap.


3 thoughts on “Is Bruce Pearl a Legend?

  1. Pingback: Jim Rome compares, laments league work stoppages « ALDLAND

  2. Bruce Pearl discussed his future in an interview on Nashville’s 104.5 (The Zone) yesterday:

    Pearl also spoke extensively about his future once the committee on infractions issues its final report. Discussing his interview with the NBA D League’s Texas Thunder, Pearl said: “It really went well. It’s a really interesting opportunity…Their entire coaching staff has really reached out to me and this would be an opportunity to learn the pro game.” Asked if he was leaning towards taking the job, Pearl wavered: “Prior to going down to Dallas for my interview the lean was that I was probably not going to do it. But having been there and met the people the lean now is that it’s a possibility. It’s a family decision. I’d have to leave my family, I’m a divorced dad, and there’d be some kids that aren’t out of school yet and in college yet that are encouraging me that are saying, “Daddy it’s only six months, you should go.”

    Pearl continued, “Donnie Nelson has put no timetable on me, and he’s put no pressure on me…It’s kind of neat to be wanted again.”

    Asked if he expects to coach college basketball again, Pearl replied, “Yeah, I would. I certainly would.” Pearl continued, “As soon as I’m allowed it (coaching in college) would be my intention. I’ve been doing it my entire life and I would like to think that the good outweighs the bad. And the good has very little to do with winning or losing, it has to do with..six kids graduating this year.”

    As the University of Tennessee comes to grips with a Pearless future, Bruce was asked whether he’d ever be interested in returning to coach at UT. Initially Pearl laughed and a made a joke about being on Coach Cuonzo Martin’s staff if he was asked. Pressed further, he laughed anew and said, ‘We’ll have to see where we are.”

    In the meantime, Pearl is also considering a future in television: “That’s (television’s) certainly something that is on the table for me…Yeah, that’s definitely a possibility.”

    Asked what his relationship with his assistant coaches is like in the wake of the staff’s firing, Pearl replied: “You know, it’s okay…we stay in touch more or less. We’re just sad that it had to end.”

    “I’ll always,” Pearl said, “love the University of Tennessee.”

    A report on the full interview is available here.

  3. Of all of Bruce Pearl’s potential career options, this is not one I saw coming:

    “Coaching will not be in Bruce Pearl’s immediate future as the former Tennessee men’s basketball coach has instead accepted a job as vice president of marketing with H.T. Hackney Co.

    “H.T. Hackney announced today that on Sept. 1 Pearl will join the Knoxville-based wholesale grocery company that supplies a variety of products to stores.”

    Or, as Clay Travis accurately put it, “vice president of a grocery store, really.”

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