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Bruce Pearl passes on Texas Legends

8/30/2011

Bruce Pearl will not be the next head coach of the D-League Texas Legends.

The former Tennessee coach informed Legends co-owner and Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson that he was turning down the job because he chose not to leave his children in Knoxville, Tenn. He will join the private sector as vice president of marketing for the H.T. Hackney Co. in Knoxville.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz spoke to Pearl on Tuesday.

"Donnie Nelson was unbelievably gracious and provided a terrific opportunity," Pearl told ESPN.com Tuesday. "I really thought that was what I was going to do. But I couldn't leave my children.

"He's a father and he understood," Pearl said. "I've made a great friend in basketball that I didn't really know before."

Nelson, who offered Pearl an unprecedented contract worth in excess of $500,000, said he understood Pearl's decision.

"There's nothing more important to the Legends than family," Nelson said. "We totally understand and respect Bruce's decision to stay close to home. There's been an overwhelming response to our head coaching position. We hope to have some exciting news in the near future."

The D-League announced its 2011-12 schedule on Monday. The Legends start the season on Nov. 26 at home against Austin.