Pearl looks at Lambert

Vol basketball coach Bruce Pearl has searched far and wide for a new assistant. Now he's looking close to home.

Maryville College athletics director/head coach Randy Lambert, whose school is roughly 20 miles from the UT campus, spoke with Pearl this week regarding the Vol staff vacancy created when Scott Edgar left to become head man at Southeast Missouri State.

Lambert has coached the Div. III Scots for 26 years. Pearl can relate, having coached nine years at Div. II Southern Indiana and four more at mid-major Wisconsin-Milwaukee before taking the Tennessee reins 14 months ago.

Maryville's 2005-06 team went 21-8 and won a game in the NCAA Div. III playoffs before bowing out. The Scots have qualified for the Div. III tournament 13 times in the past 16 years.

Lambert is no stranger to Vol hoops. He served one year (1977) as a grad assistant at UT after graduating from Maryville College. The major concern regarding him is the fact he has no experience in the shark tank that is major college recruiting.

"I think the recruiting would be a dramatic change for Randy,'' Pearl told The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "I think it's real important to find the right fit for both us and the candidate.''

If recruiting at the major-college level is the determining factor, Damon Archibald may have the inside track for the Vol vacancy. Archibald was considered a fine recruiter during his stint as an assistant at Iowa State of the Big XII. Two other candidates for the UT job – Kent State assistant Josh Oppenheimer and former Texas-San Antonio head man Tim Carter – have not had to go head-to-head with big-time programs for recruits. The other candidate, Bob Sundvold of the ABA's Kansas City Knights, hasn't had to recruit at all since he was at Iowa State.

It's possible Pearl will interview more candidates. He told The News-Sentinel he doesn't anticipate making a final decision "for another week or two."

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