Lost in all the hoopla and hullabaloo of John Calipari heading to Kentucky is the status of Coach Cal’s previous program in Memphis. Not only have the Tigers lost a head coach, they’re also likely losing an entire coaching staff and a couple of quality players.
So now it’s UM’s turn to seek out a new court general. And the Conference USA champs have there eyes set on someone already in state: Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. And when it comes to pursuing Pearl, Memphis isn’t talking peanuts - they’ve presented the Vols coach a deal worth up to $21 million.
WMC-TV in Memphis reports that the C-USA school has offered Pearl a 7-year, $21 million contract to take the reigns of their basketball squad. And Bruce is apparently interest - he’s rumored to be coming to town either Thursday or Friday to interview for the job.
However, before any parades for Pearl get started on Beale Street, UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton wants to rain on such parades. WATE-TV reports that Hamilton hasn’t heard anything from Memphis about asking permission to speak with Pearl. And when speaking with Bruce, Hamilton said Pearl pooh-poohed any notion of taking the Tigers job:
“I spoke with Bruce via text today, and he told me he’s not going anywhere,” Hamilton said. “The indication I got, and I feel really confident about it, that he has no interest.”
Hamilton further added, “I feel strongly that Bruce would tell me if anything were going on.” But if Bruce was going to text anyone about his future first, we figure it would be Erin Andrews - so he could get a congratulatory hug.
If Bruce won’t come to Memphis, then maybe Bob Knight will. The former Indiana & Texas Tech coach and current ESPN analyst also interviewed for the Tigers’ coaching position.
I, for one, would love to see Bobby back in coaching - or at least out of the analyst’s chair. It’s more fun to watch him fight with the media than be part of it.