Auburn hires Bruce Pearl
Bruce Pearl will be the next coach of the Auburn Tigers, Pearl and the school confirmed Tuesday.
Pearl told ESPN.com that he received a six-year deal, but financial terms were still being worked on Tuesday. He said details would be released later.
Pearl said he cannot recruit, or evaluate, under his NCAA show-cause penalty from his time at Tennessee until Aug. 24, 2014. NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said Auburn has 30 days to file a report to the Committee on Infractions either contesting or accepting the show-cause penalty.
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"I want to be accountable,'' Pearl told ESPN.com. "This is the penalty. I'm Auburn's men's basketball coach and we'll work with the NCAA on what I can do.''
Pearl, 54, was fired in 2011 after taking Tennessee to the NCAA tournament in each of his six seasons. He has worked for ESPN as an analyst the past two years.
"It's a good fit,'' said Pearl, who was on his way to meet with the Auburn president. "They haven't been able to do it consistently in men's basketball. The league is on the upswing. I'm hoping I can get the program to join the upper division. We've got to get more than three teams in the NCAA tournament. That's a fact. I look forward to being part of the process.''
He was fired for lying to the NCAA in March 2011 in regards to the recruitment of Aaron Craft (at the time a junior in high school who ended up at Ohio State) and given a three-year show cause by the NCAA. The show-cause expires in August and will not allow him to have contact with potential recruits this summer. Pearl, however, will be allowed to evaluate recruits in the all-important July recruiting period.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he believes Pearl "has learned from his mistake." The coach was to be introduced at a news conference at Auburn Arena Tuesday night.
"I've thought about this a great deal, and obviously so has Coach Pearl. I believe people who are genuine and sincere deserve second chances," Jacobs said in a statement. "If I did not believe Coach Pearl's apologies were sincere and heartfelt, I would not have even considered him."
Pearl was greeted by 100-plus fans when he landed at the airport in Auburn. He jumped into a mosh pit of fans.
"I want this same reception when we come back with an SEC championship," he told fans upon arrival.
Pearl hired back his former associate head coach Tony Jones, who went 5-3 when Pearl was suspended for eight games by SEC commissioner Mike Slive for the violations of lying to the NCAA about inviting a recruit to a cookout at his house (Ohio State's Aaron Craft).
Jones had been the high school coach at Alcoa, Tenn. He was with Pearl Tuesday in Auburn.
Pearl said Jacobs is committed to helping him hire a "great staff" and will give him the financial flexibility.
"We're going to think outside the box,'' Pearl said. "We want to bring in someone who compliments us.''
Auburn fired Tony Barbee last week after the Tigers finished 14-16 and 6-12 in the SEC. The former coach at UTEP was 49-75 in four seasons at Auburn.
"From the moment I met Coach Pearl and heard his vision for our basketball program, it was clear he's the right man at the right time for Auburn," Jacobs said in the statement. "Coach Pearl is a proven winner who will bring energy and excitement to our program.
"We have raised the bar for Auburn basketball, and I could not be more excited for our student-athletes and our future under Coach Pearl's leadership. I know he agrees with me -- it's time to win."
Pearl spent four seasons at Milwaukee and took the program to two NCAA tournaments -- including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2005. He was hired at Tennessee in 2005 and was 145-61 in six seasons with the Vols.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Pearl becomes the fifth coach over the last 50 years to coach multiple SEC schools, joining Don DeVoe (Tennessee/Florida), Tubby Smith (Georgia/Kentucky), C.M. Newton (Alabama/Vanderbilt) and Eddie Fogler (Vanderbilt/South Carolina). Those four coaches all had above .500 records in their second SEC stint.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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