I knew of Bruce Pearl when he was head coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he took a nothing program from a nothing conference and brought them national recognition. I knew when Tennessee hired him what he would be able to do here, and I told everyone I knew…I don’t think anyone believed me.
Well, skeptics, the laugh is on you. Tennessee is doing so well that if they keep winning they could get a top-five tournament seed. What’s more…people in this town are actually interested in basketball for a change. The words “basketball” and “Knoxville” used to be an oxymoron. No more is that the case, nor will it be, I suspect, for many years to come. The college basketball world is beginning to take notice: “By the way, have you noticed what’s happening at Tennessee?” If this continues, in a couple of years that will become: “We play Tennessee this weekend? Oh boy…”
What a difference the right coach makes. What a difference it also makes to have an athletic department and a fan base that supports men’s basketball as well as it supports women’s basketball and football. I hope the trend continues, and I am sure Coach Pearl does too.