Pearl not looking to leave

Some basketball coaches like to use openings at other schools as leverage in negotiating for money or other considerations. Not Tennessee's Bruce Pearl.

With Indiana, LSU, South Carolina and Oklahoma State among the high-profile NCAA schools looking for new head basketball coaches, Pearl's name is being mentioned in connection with some of the vacancies.

That's understandable, since the third-year Vol coach is AVERAGING nearly 26 wins per year at a school whose single-season record prior to his arrival was 26 wins.

Rather than let speculation about his allegiance to Tennessee detract from the optimism about the future of Vol hoops, Pearl decided to launch a pre-emptive strike earlier today. He released a statement through the UT sports information office affirming that he has no intention of leaving The Hill in the foreseeable future.

Here is that statement in its entirity:

"I have said many times that I am a coach that digs his roots deep within a community. That is especially the case here at the University of Tennessee. In the last three years we have averaged more than 25 wins while winning SEC championships and making back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. The fan support has been amazing with 20,000 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena creating the best homecourt advantage in the nation. While there have been rumors about me being considered for coaching jobs at other schools, I want the Tennessee fans to know that the only school I am interested in talking about is the University of Tennessee. We have started something special here and I look forward to being a part of it for a very long time. It is great to be a Volunteer."

Pearl has compiled the most successful three-year record in Tennessee history, winning 77 of 101 games. Inheriting a program that had gone 14-17 in 2004-05, he won an SEC East title in 2006 and an SEC overall title in 2008. He advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 each of the past two seasons, winning a school-record 31 games in '08.


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