Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Someone, anyone… Bring back Bruce



Let’s be clear before we go any further here… Petitions are the kind of thing middle schoolers get excited about when it comes to bringing a Gatorade machine to the cafeteria. Putting much stock in a petition is not a wise thing, but some Tennessee fans have apparently crafted a “Petition to Promote the Rehiring of Bruce Pearl” (currently has 27,000+ signatures).  I’m not here to justify a petition, but I am here to beg someone in the SEC to please, please, please consider bring back Bruce Pearl. The SEC desperately needs a quick infusion of Bruce. The SEC is not only dangerously on the verge of putting on 2 teams in the NCAA tournament for the first time in decades, but the SEC has kind of become one of the running jokes of college basketball. With nearly half the teams currently sitting in a deadlock at 7-7, the SEC is the definition of mediocrity. Bruce Pearl is exciting. Bruce Pearl is a proven winner in the SEC, something that many of the recent coaching hires have failed to prove. Just ask Frank Martin.

Does it have to be Tennessee who hires Pearl? No, of course not. In fact, I would argue that while Tennessee is obviously a proven and seamless fit for Pearl, Tennessee is the one school that has considerable justification for not hiring him. The whole “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” mentality comes into play with Tennessee, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for not necessarily seeing the risk to go back down that road again as a worthwhile one. Although, the argument could also be made that with recent re-hirings such as Bobby Petrino at Louisville, the precedent has been set for that kind of thing to happen– and to potentially work. Sure, the first few weeks were dramatic and caused Louisville plenty of negative attention– but no one seems to be too concerned with it now that the dust has settled. In fairness though, Tennessee’s issues with Pearl involved NCAA infractions.

Take Tennessee out of the equation if you will. To any other school in the SEC drowning in mediocrity right now though– I beg the question: Why not? (Mark Stoops voice). Seriously, why not? Most of the schools in the SEC right now are struggling to fill seats. Winning non-conference games is not even #1 on the list of problems. Not only are the arenas half-empty on many nights, but the passion among the fan bases across the SEC pales in comparison to SEC football, or more importantly– other basketball teams.

When Pearl was at Tennessee, things were exciting. Tennessee basketball fans cared, and Pearl gave them something to be excited about. Pearl may not have taken Tennessee to any Final Fours, but he packed the arena on most nights and ignited a passion among the fan base that hadn’t been seen in a while before him, and hasn’t been existent since his departure.

For the Alabamas, Auburns, Texas A&Ms, South Carolinas, etc… Why not take a chance on Pearl? The SEC is so down right now, that it wouldn’t take much to catapult into the level of teams right below Florida and Kentucky. Heck, Georgia managed to do it this year with average talent. Pearl can recruit. Pearl can put fans in the seats. Pearl can win games in the SEC. The risk seems well worth the potential reward, and you can’t convince me that Pearl wouldn’t be a better option than some of the current coaching hires at these schools.

As great as it is to know that Kentucky won’t be challenged for the #2 spot in the SEC this season, the conference lacks intrigue and excitement. Someone, anyone… Please…. Bring back Bruce. 

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

37 responses to “Someone, anyone… Bring back Bruce”

  1. BravoBigBlue

    He’ll be back sooner or later. I think he’s overrated. Not that impressed. What did he do at Tenn? He’s his biggest fan. Kinda Dale Brown was.

  2. White Castle Sliders

    It ain’t happening. NCAA handed him a show-clause. Basically the school wanting to hire him would have to go to a panel and go through a bunch of hoops…not gonna happen

    1. ShagariObrzut

      That only last until August of this year. Schools wouldn’t need to after that time.

    2. Rockfield, KY

      It’s show cause, it’s up after 3 years, and Bruce is still really tight with the UT boosters. I’d say he’ll be back at UT if Bama doesn’t steal him away.

  3. Onelastshot

    The first thing the SEC needs to do is to stop the bias home court officiating. You shouldn’t have .500 teams winning 30 straight games at home. It just shouldn’t work that way. Probably losing a couple of tournament bids a year due to teams getting beat by inferior teams on the road. No other conference wins at a higher rate at home than the SEC.

    1. true

      that is true. Whenever Kentucky plays on the road the reffing is straight BS, ESPECIALLY THE ARKANSAS GAME, every time they would even step into the lane it was a foul on us. The Miss State game comes to mind also.
      And whenever I watch an SEC non-Kentucky road game where I’m not biased, I notice the refs are completely in favor of the home team. Last night Florida at Vandy, Florida got pounded in the lane and there was no call, and Vandy got every single call on their basket. The refs just kept them in the game.

  4. BravoBigBlue

    ksr always did hang on pearl’s nut sack for some reason. Oh well, some things never change.

  5. 2mites

    Why in hell bring that cheating sleaze bag back to anywhere. Nothing but a clown who is an embarrassment to college basketball. Overated as a coach who really did nothing.
    Paint yourself orange Bruce and show off your man boobs.

    1. Rockfield, KY

      All he did was lie about having a gook out at his house and had some secondary violations at Milwaukee that every NCAA coach gets. UL and UNC do far worse and don’t even get their hands slapped. Bruce is actually a pretty good guy and makes a program better from day 1. Plus he did a lot for the entire UT AD, a lot like Cal does, just to a lesser extent. Bring him back.

  6. Sam Jones

    Agreed. Bruce Pearl was a guy that I loved to hate, which is far better than ambivalence. Sign him up.

  7. Wild Blue

    We don’t need this idiot back in the conference. His teams and antics are nothing more than a circus side show. Come on Ally surely you are not serious.

    1. Dave

      What antics are you talking about? Painting his chest orange for a women’s game? If Matthew Mitchell did it at a UK men’s game we’d all be canonizing him. I know he lied to the NCAA about the cookout and asked Aaron Craft to do the same, but Bruce Pearl did something that hadn’t been done at UT in 30+ years: He had consistently good teams, brought excitement to TBA and put butts in seats. Bruce Pearl was the coach I loved to hate. Did you know he’d walk through the cafeterias and libraries at school several days a week, sit down with the students and genuinely talk to them? And he always ended by inviting them to the games. This conference needs Bruce Pearl, or someone like him, to ignite a spark in a third team. I hear him on the radio here in Nashville every week and he’s learned from his mistakes and he’s truly remorseful for what happened. He didn’t murder someone or sell drugs to middle schoolers. He deserves a second chance.

  8. Bill

    Pearl told a few lies, not a great way to do business. However, look at Pitino and Petrino, which resume would you turn down sooner? I’d like to see Pearl at Texas A&M. Pearl is a good coach, he was within in a basket of taking Tennessee to the FF. We enjoyed hating Pearl, that was backhanded respect. The SEC needs Pearl. Show cause, give me a break. How about what is and has been going on at UNC. Hire Pearl and give the SEC a lift, The SEC needs Pearl more than Pearl needs the SEC.

    I agree with another poster about the refereeing in the SEC. It is God awful and I’m not talking about the UK calls. We get them at Rupp, it’s a homer thing. However, it does happen at other leagues too. The Boehiem call could have gone either way, so Duke got it. Had it been at Suracuse they would have got the call. I’m of the opinion there should have been a no call.

  9. jaye from lexvegas

    It would be difficult there are several factors going on here. One Bruce Pearl made mistakes that cost the program, dose that mean he doesn’t deserve another chance? the answer is no. He should get a chance in somewhere small first then work his way back up the ranks.

    The second thing is was Bruce really a good coach x & o wise sure ill give him that, but there is more to coaching than x & o’s. Bruce main failing was dealing with players and getting quality guys; when i say quality guys i mean moral wise there were way too many incidents to say that it wasn’t on the coach. However i will say he could really get his guys to rally.

    Basically someone should give him the chance but be very careful and keep an eye to make sure he wont repeat the same mistakes.

  10. Jim

    Pearl would be one of the best coaches in the SEC,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    1. Rockfield, KY

      He’d be #3 from the day he signs the contract.

  11. hal

    we get it. matt thinks & talks bout how great it would be for pearl to be back, and so now you do. a lot. just b/c uofl does something s****y doesnt mean everyone else has to…

    1. Dave

      While this is a column by a KSR staffer, this isn’t an original thought. There’s been talk in Tennessee to bring back Pearl since the day he got his show-cause. I literally heard people call in saying UT should promote his assistant with the agreement that once Pearl’s show-cause ended he could come back. A large number of UT fans, alumni and most importantly boo$ter$, want him back. Would it be so horrible for the SEC to have him back?

  12. Dr. Funke

    Why should a team from the SEC bring him in just because he is a good coach? There are plenty of good coaches out there. In other words, he is nothing special.

    1. Davee

      Good coaches like Anthony Grant, Mike Anderson and Frank Martin? All were considered home-run hires at their respective schools. What have any of them done in the SEC? If there’s plenty of good coaches out there – AND would be willing to take a basketball job at UT – name a couple…

  13. macon_volfan

    I’m not sure where I stand on this issue. But I like Bruce Pearl. He’s not nearly as slimy and terrible as many on here seem to think. He’s really a top notch guy. I know that from experience and, for that matter, so do many affiliated with this website.

    1. Rockfield, KY

      I met him 2 summers ago in Gatlinburg and he introduced himself to me out of nowhere. He talked to me for a few minutes and is just a regular guy who was cool to talk to. He wasn’t loud of obnoxious or the center of attention and the guys there were all big UT boosters that think the world of him.

  14. Gap Tooth Danny

    I think he would a good fit at Louisville, after weird beard retires.

  15. Catsfan3

    I don’t think the lying ,cheating, chip on his shoulder bum should be allowed to coach again period. When the NCAA infractions committee has you by the short hairs and you lie to them not once but twice, get your school put on probation for lack of institutional control, and cost the next coach players and scholarships you can ever pay the debt you owe. As in Sutton’s case at UK, I rue the day he ever walked on campus. We were within a heartbeat of getting the death penalty back then and I’m sure some of you younger fans can’t relate to the destruction wrought on our program and mass exodus of talent that took place, it was similar .though not nearly as bad, as to the damage the orange screwball did to the Tennessee program lying to everyone till the bitter end. Why should any coach who makes millions a year, get away with doing that to any school and most of the time the next year be coaching somewhere else while the former school suffers. The only reason this scumbag has not gotten back into coaching as soon as he was fired from Tennessee was because the NCAA wouldn’t let him. And we wonder why our kids today grow up with no morals or scruples. I’m quite sure there are many fine men who could mold young minds and set better examples of how to act with responsibility than Bruce Pearl, Eddie Sutton. Billy Gilispie, or even Rick Pitino.

    1. Scott Baio

      Yes he lied, but he lied about Aaron Craft being at a BBQ at his home for christ sake! Then the NCAA slaps him with a 3 year show cause and gives UT all the discipline actions you mentioned above. I’m not saying Pearl shouldn’t have been punished for lying to the NCAA, but does the punishment really fit the crime? Frank Haith at Missouri was paying players to come to Miami during his tenure there and he gets a 3 game suspension. The NCAA’s determination of punishment is really jacked up!

    2. Dave

      I’m with Scott Baio on this one. Can you honestly compare what Bruce Pearl did to what happened at Miami, and Frank Haith came away with a wrist slap? This is an excerpt from Gary Parrish’s coumn on Oct 23, 2013…

      “If Pearl got a three-year show-cause penalty for lying to the NCAA that’s so severe that the mere anticipation of it cost him and his staff their jobs, why did former Miami coach Frank Haith — now the head coach at Missouri — only get a five-game suspension for allegedly lying to the NCAA about something far worse than a cookout?”

      I was an adult living in Lexington when the Sutton incident broke. What happened with Sutton was far worse than Pearl. With Sutton it was a pattern of infractions that’d been going on for years (Probably started long before Sutton got there to be honest). Pearl was nailed for lying to the NCAA when they had the evidence against him. And if you knew anything about the person, you’d know that Pearl has shown remorse and fully admits his mistakes.To use Catsfan3’s logic, no one deserves a second chance.

  16. YSR2KSR

    his brand of basketball includes playing dirty. saw his players nut slap guys frequently. his son was the worst offender. or maybe he just likes touching other guys junk.

  17. Classy Cat Fan

    Bruce Pearl was the last great “character” in the ranks of SEC Mens Basketball Coaches:

    Nolan Richardson

    Wimp Danderson

    Dale Brown

    Jim Harrick

    Ray Mears

    and more… Bring Back the Personalities!!!

    1. Rockfield, KY

      Don’t forget Cliff “Smooth Jazz” Ellis

  18. A1Fan

    Why does KSR worship the lying cheat that is Bruce Pearl? Mr. Pearl has proven what he is. There is no doubt that he cheated while at Tennessee and lied to the NCAA about the cheating. Yet KSR seems to think this lowlife piece of trash should be coaching young men in the SEC. What does that tell us about the character of the people at KSR? Quite a bit really and it is pretty sickening.

    1. Rockfield, KY

      At least he owned up to the cookout. I’d hate to see what lies could be dug up about the posters on this website. We won’t even go by our real names, but for some reason we think we can judge other people on their mistakes. If you ever met Bruce, you’d like him. No doubt about it.

    2. Good points

      A1Fan. KSR always settles for the low life and bottom feeders. Whether it be politics, entertainers or basketball players and coaches they drift to the bottom of the pond

  19. theWilkman

    While it would be nice, he’s probably not coming back to the SEC. He has Indiana ties from his time at USI… my guess is Crean gets the boot in the next 2-3 years and ol’ Bruce goes there. Hopefully then he and Cal can work a schedule out.

  20. Charlie Waite

    I live in Alabama, and there are a lot of rumors down here that he may be Grant’s replacement next year.

  21. Megan

    Bad precedent isn’t something to be followed, Ally.

    No Division I school should hire Bruce Pearl. He brought disgrace to Tennessee. He purposefully violated a recruiting rule, told others he was doing it and to keep quiet about it, then lied through his teeth to the NCAA, who caught him dead to rights.

    Let’s be clear. It wasn’t the minor recruiting violation. It was the lying.

    That’s not a “mistake.” That’s a dishonest scheme, a fraud. That’s a character flaw and a trust issue. Unlike the minor violation, that’s not something you just forgive and forget. Those who argue otherwise are simply rationalizing for ulterior motives.

    We can’t stop Tennessee from hiring Pearl any more than we can stop the university from hiring a “former” embezzler to administer its endowment, or a “former” child molester to run its day care program. But some stains don’t wash away so easily. They stubbornly remain even after the sentence is served.

    No, if Pearl wants to coach again, let him go back to Division II, if anyone will take him, and let him prove that he’s changed his ways. That will take more than a couple of years.

    1. jaws2

      I don’t agree with a lot posted on this site, but Megan you are spot on. Unfortunately, when a former President who enjoyed a little ‘under the table’ flute music, and playing with cigars gets a pass and becomes a political ‘icon’, all is lost. The example has been set.

  22. Tyler

    Clay has this one locked up.