3/23/11

TODAY’S RANT

Tennessee had no choice. Bruce Pearl had to be fired as the Volunteers basketball coach. Much like the Ohio State situation involving football coach Jim Tressel, it is difficult enough for a university to tolerate a coaching lying. It absolutely can’t tolerate a cover-up. The coach — more than the president of the school or the athletic director — sets the standard for the athletes. Leading by example may be old fashion but it isn’t out of date.

It is a shame Pearl has been fired. He’s a better-than average coach and one of the few big-time coaches who understands the blend of competition and entertainment. Vols fans loved him, not only for winning a lot more than he lost, but because he immersed himself into Vol Nation. He became a fan. The media loved him because he understood promoting the sport. He made himself available; he usually provided good sound bites and quotes. From my limited time with him, he ranked among the good guys in a profession that’s sorely lacking good guys.

Right or wrong, Pearl will land on his feet sooner than later. Too many schools need good coaches; even more need coaches who are capable and willing to sell their sport.

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