Pearl's financial impact

Bruce Pearl cashed in on his spectacular performance as the first-year coach of Tennessee's basketball program. But several other members of UT's athletic family are cashing in because of Pearl's performance, as well.

By guiding an unheralded Vol squad to a 22-8 record, an SEC East title and a program-best No. 2 seeding for the 2006 NCAA Tournament, Pearl earned a pay boost from $800,000 to an average of $1.3 million over the next six years. In other words, he won't be clipping coupons the next 12 months.

Nor will Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt. Her recent bump to $1.3 million was directly related to Pearl's raise to that level. Had Bruce Pearl gone 17-13 last winter and remained at $800,000 per annum, Summitt would not have received a raise to $1.3 million based merely on a Sweet-16 appearance in 2006-07.

Vol athletics director Mike Hamilton has benefited financially from Pearl's success, as well. Hamilton's contract calls for "athletic performance bonuses" when UT sports enjoy success, so he undoubtedly picked up a few extra bucks because of the basketball team's showing last winter.

In addition, Hamilton's recent raise and contract extension through 2011 (see Jimmy Hyams' story elsewhere on this site) are tied strongly to Pearl's achievements. The Vols haven't won an SEC title in any sport since Hamilton succeeded Doug Dickey, so the contractual show of faith from the administration is obviously a response to Hamilton's hiring of Pearl.

If Pearl continues having success – and all indications suggest he will – still more UT personnel will reap benefits. The more fannies Pearl puts in the seats at Thompson-Boling Arena and the more revenue the basketball program generates, the more money becomes available for the coaches of non-revenue sports such as Rod Delmonico (baseball), Bill Webb (track), John Trembley (swimming), Jim Kelson (golf), etc.

If the other UT coaches aren't thanking God for Bruce Pearl in their prayers each night … well, they should be. He's going to be putting bread on a lot of tables in the coming years.

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