Divorces finalized

There are all sorts of odd coincidences attached to the recent divorces of Bruce Pearl and Pat Summitt.

Having endured a couple of divorces myself – two of the darkest episodes of my life, to be sure – I am in no way making light of these situations. I'm merely shedding some light on them. For instance:

Pearl, of course, is the widely respected men's head basketball coach at Tennessee ... Summitt the widely respected women's head basketball coach at Tennessee.

Pearl cited irreconcilable differences when he filed papers against his wife ... Summitt cited irreconcilable differences when she filed papers against her husband.

Pearl's divorce became final on April 1 ... Summitt's on April 25.

Pearl and wife Kim had been married for 25 years ... Summitt and husband R. B. for 27 years.

The dissolution of a long-term marriage can be a powerful distraction (see Arizona men's basketball coach Lute Olsen), yet both Tennessee coaches seemed incredibly focused while going through the process. During his eight-month separation from his ex-wife, Pearl guided the Vols to an SEC title, a brief stint as the NCAA's No. 1 team and a school-record 31 victories, obliterating the old single-season record of 26 ... During her two-year separation from her ex-husband, Summitt guided the Lady Vols to back-to-back national titles.

Pearl's best player, power forward Tyler Smith, decided to renounce his remaining collegiate eligibility and make himself available for the NBA Draft. He changed his mind as the filing deadline approached, however, and elected to return. Summitt's best player, power forward Candace Parker, decided to renounce her remaining eligibility and make herself available for the WNBA Draft. She wavered, however, and waited until five minutes before the filing deadline to submit her paperwork to the WNBA.

Despite losing three quality seniors from his 2007-08 team, Pearl recruited so well that his squad should compete for the league title in 2008-09. Despite losing four quality seniors and a junior from her 2007-08 team, Summitt recruited so well that her squad should compete for the league title in 2008-09.

Finally, Summitt says she will keep her married name even though she is now divorced. That's got to be a relief for the school administration since Tennessee's basketball floor is named "The Summitt" in her honor. Had she reverted to her maiden name, renaming the floor "The Head" would not be an appropriate option.


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