Posted on: June 7, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 2:53 pm

Yes, Mike, it was inevitable

Mike Hamilton announced his resignation as Tennessee's athletic director on Tuesday.

He said the following words: "I think today was inevitable."

Sure, Hamilton said lots more. He talked about his personal life and professional life, talked about his past and future and even quoted scripture. All in all, it was an OK performance. But the words that stood out most were the five from above because they suggested Hamilton recognized what he was up against even if he almost certainly recognized it later than most. You see, once Tennessee decided to split with Bruce Pearl because of Pearl's acknowledged NCAA violations it became obvious that Hamilton, the man who hired Pearl, wouldn't last. I had no idea whether the resignation would come in June 2011 or August 2011 or January 2012. But I've said many times on many radio stations that Tennessee would have a new athletic director, one way or another, when all of its NCAA issues were in the past. That educated guess has been confirmed.

Now to the big picture.

As my colleague Gregg Doyel pointed out, this can't be good news for Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, because it's the latest example that athletic directors can't survive reckless employees as well as they used to. Mike Garrett didn't survive Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo at USC. Lew Perkins didn't survive the ticket scandal at Kansas, and Hamilton didn't survive Lane Kiffin and Pearl at Tennessee.

So will Smith really survive Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Like Hamilton said, it's probably inevitable.
Posted on: March 27, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 7:27 pm

Tennessee hires Missouri State's Martin

Tennessee announced on Sunday that Missouri State's Counzo Martin will replace Bruce Pearl as the Vols' basketball coach. He'll be formally introduced at a Monday press conference in Knoxville.

"Cuonzo is among the most promising young coaches in the game, and we are excited about the coaching ability, toughness, and energy that he brings to our program," said UT athletic director Mike Hamilton. "He has a proven track record of success as a head coach at Missouri State and an assistant at Purdue as well as an outstanding career as a college basketball player. His Missouri State program improved from 11 wins to 26 in just two seasons, and they won the regular season conference championship this year."

Martin was 61-41 in three seasons at Missouri State.

His Bears finished 26-9 this season and won the school's first Missouri Valley Conference title.

Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 9:26 pm

Source: Xavier's Mack rejects UT's overture

NEW ORLEANS -- Tennessee contacted Chris Mack this week via Parker Executive Search and told the Xavier coach the school was prepared to offer a deal of nearly $2 million a year for eight years to replace Bruce Pearl, a source close to the SEC program told CBSSports.com on Friday.

Mack rejected the overture, according to the source.

UT's search has since moved on to secondary candidates.

An attempt to reach Mack for comment was not immediately successful.

Tennessee ended its relationship with Pearl last Monday because of recruiting violations that led to a notice of allegations from the NCAA. The school is set to appear before the committee on infractions in June and will likely face further sanctions. That's why Tennessee is willing to give a coach eight years, a source said, because its next coach will almost certainly inherit a decimated roster and face a tough rebuilding job in the SEC East.

Mack has gone 50-17 in two seasons at Xavier.

The Xavier graduate has won Atlantic 10 titles and made the NCAA tournament both years.

Parker Executive Search is an Atlanta-based company that assists schools during coaching searches at a rate of around $75,000. Tennessee and North Carolina State are currently using Parker Executive Search. N.C. State is trying to replace Sidney Lowe. He was fired earlier this month after five seasons.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 21, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 10:27 pm

Statement from UT AD Mike Hamilton

The following is a statement from Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton.

It confirms Monday's firing of Bruce Pearl.

"Today, we are announcing that we have reached an agreement with Bruce Pearl that will result in him and his immediate staff being relieved of their duties with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball program. This is a difficult day for many obvious reasons. Six years ago, Bruce Pearl arrived on our campus and renewed hope in Tennessee Basketball. He, his staff, and our student-athletes have allowed us as administrators and fans to enjoy unprecedented success and many victories during that time. He has become a friend to many and has done tremendous work in our community.

"Upon receipt of our NCAA Letter of Inquiry in September, we made the difficult decision to forego common national opinion and forge ahead with Bruce and his staff pending any further major infractions or issues that would preclude our basketball program from representing the University of Tennessee in the right manner. The months that followed have been difficult on everyone – our staff, our coaches, our administration, our fans and, certainly, our young men. During this time, the dynamics of our case with the NCAA have evolved further, including additional violations committed on September 14 and in March 2011. The cumulative effect of the evolution of the investigation combined with a number of more recent non-NCAA-related incidents have led to a belief that this staff cannot be viable at Tennessee in the future. Therefore, it is in the best interests of our institution to move in a different direction.

"We have included separation terms that will detail more clearly our role in the transition for Coach Pearl and his assistant coaches. In the meantime, we have named native Tennessean and a former head coach, Houston Fancher, as interim coach during our hiring process. Our search process will begin immediately. This is a great job and will attract a significant number of interested coaches. Much of that interest is a tribute to what Coach Pearl has helped to build, but more importantly, what our fans have built. We will take an appropriate amount of time, but will move as swiftly as is effective to bring this to conclusion. Lastly, I want to apologize to our fans for my untimely comments prior to last week's NCAA appearance. distraction to what has already been a year of distractions. While my comments were never intended for harm, they became an unneeded distraction to what has already been a year of distractions."

----- Terms of Agreement -----

Head men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl will be paid at his current salary rate through June 30, 2011. He will also receive $50,000 per month for 12 months, from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, and will also receive health insurance costs. This cumulative figure is $948,728. Additionally, the men’s basketball coaching staff will each be paid at their current salary rate through July 31, 2011.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 4:27 pm

Craft on Pearl: "My heart goes out to him."

Aaron Craft is one of the reasons Ohio State is the No. 1 overall seed in this NCAA tournament.

He's also, at least partly, the reason Tennessee fired Bruce Pearl on Monday.

Pearl's NCAA troubles that led to his dismissal began last summer when the NCAA obtained a photo that showed Pearl hosting Craft at his Knoxville home in September 2008. Because Craft was a high school junior at the time, the contact was impermissible. Pearl lied about the details of the picture when the NCAA initially approached him about it. He was charged with unethical conduct last month and let go three days after UT's season ended.

Craft commented about Pearl to CBSSports.com.

"My heart goes out to him," Craft said. "I feel bad for Coach Pearl. He was a good guy to me. My heart goes out."

Ohio State plays Kentucky on Friday in the Sweet 16.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:16 pm

Source: UT parting ways with Pearl

Tennessee has decided to end Bruce Pearl's tenure as the school's men's basketball coach because of NCAA violations detailed in a notice of allegations received last month, a source told CBSSports.com on Monday.

A formal announcement is expected in the next 24 hours.

A source told CBSSports.com that Pearl is not expected to hold a press conference.

Pearl's NCAA issues became public last September when the school acknowledged recruiting violations. At the time, Pearl only said that he didn't "tell the truth the first time" NCAA investigators asked him about a violation; he declined to be more specific. CBSSports.com subsequently reported that Pearl's lie centered around a picture that showed Aaron Craft, now a freshman at Ohio State, at Pearl's home while on an unofficial visit in violation of NCAA rules.

UT's notice of allegations confirmed that report.

The program was charged with seven major violations.

Pearl, predictably, was charged with unethical conduct.

Tennessee punished Pearl before the notice of allegations arrived. He was banned from off-campus recruiting for a year, had his salary cut and contract voided, and then the SEC suspended him for eight league games. Still, athletic director Mike Hamilton continued to publicly back Pearl, but that changed  last Wednesday when Hamilton appeared on a Knoxville radio station and, to the surprise of the UT staff, said Pearl's job status was unclear and that the school would decide whether to keep its coach at the conclusion of the season.

Michigan beat the Vols by 30 points in the Round of 64 two days later.

Now Pearl is out as UT's coach.

A search for his replacement has already begun.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:44 pm

UT AD wavers on future of Pearl

DAYTON, Ohio -- Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton publicly wavered for the first time Wednesday when asked about Bruce Pearl's future as the head coach of the Vols basketball program.

"We don’t know the answer today,” Hamilton told a Knoxville radio station. "We’ve done a lot of soul searching about the direction of our program and we’ll continue to do that and we’ll decide after we’re out of the NCAA Tournament what direction it is that we’re going to go next. We’re not going to finish our evaluation until after the season is over."

Hamilton's comments are the first real sign that Tennessee might be prepared to remove Pearl shortly after the conclusion of this season because of recruiting violations that have brought sanctions and bad publicity to the school. He had previously suggested Pearl would continue as coach even if the NCAA levies additional penalties because he didn't view Pearl's transgressions as firable offenses, but clearly things have changed. Asked if Pearl is bothered by the fact that he's working without a contract, Hamilton said, "I’m sure he is.  Absolutely.  But he had a chance to have had a contract back in November and December and we just never got to the finish line. Now we’ve got to the point where we don’t feel like we can do that."

Tennessee plays Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 11:33 am

NCAA charges Pearl, Kiffin in UT case

A 22-month investigation into Tennessee's men's basketball and football programs has led to basketball coach Bruce Pearl being charged with unethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches, according to the NCAA notice of allegations released Wednesday. Former UT football coach Lane Kiffin, now at Southern California, was also charged with failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches.

(Click this link to read the full notice of allegations.)

Nearly every significant detail in the notice of allegations is information previously reported by CBSSports.com -- most notably that Pearl hosted recruits at his home for a cookout on September 20, 2008 in violation of NCAA rules, then lied to the enforcement staff on June 14, 2010 when presented with a picture taken of him and former recruit Aaron Craft. The existence of the picture and nature of Pearl's lie was first reported by CBSSports.com.

One new detail in the notice of allegations is that the NCAA claims Pearl, also on June 14, 2010, "failed to protect the integrity of the investigation when he placed a series of phone calls to John Craft, the father of Craft, who visited Pearl's home during an unofficial visit. ... Pearl placed the first telephone call prior to the start of Pearl's interview with the enforcement staff and the institution. During a subsequent telephone call, Pearl reminded John Craft that it was a violation of NCAA legislation for his family to have attended the cookout, and that Pearl gave John Craft a choice to attend the cookout. Pearl's conversation with John Craft caused John Craft to believe that Pearl was trying to influence John Craft's statements to the NCAA enforcement staff."

Tennessee has until May 21 to submit a response to the notice of allegations.

School officials will then appear before the committee on infractions on June 10-11.
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com