UPDATE BOX! (In reverse chronological order.)
[Note by Joel, 04/02/09 11:23 AM EDT ] GVS reports that Hamilton and Pearl are scheduled to talk about Pearl's contract today. I bet. HT: raynoch46.
[Note by Joel, 04/02/09 10:51 AM EDT ] Mr. SEC has spoken directly with Hamilton, and Hamilton says it ain't so. According to Jimmy Hyams, Hamilton will be issuing a statement shortly that Pearl is going nowhere.
[Note by Joel, 04/02/09 10:32 AM EDT ] And now, WMC in Memphis is reporting that Pearl has been offered a 7-year, $21-million deal to coach at Memphis.
This is your nightmare. The Dread John Calipari not only abandons Memphis for Kentucky and takes a bunch of his talent with him to the SEC East, but the Beloved Bruce Pearl abandons Tennessee for Memphis. This site, and the entire Tennessee interwebosphere, is replete with Pearl's contributions to Tennessee basketball. Yet we have one season that is "down" only by Bruce's own standards, and the orange poison begins to work its way into the man prompting defenses that shouldn't have been necessary but were. Well, how do the venom-carriers feel now?
Would Pearl take the Memphis job? He just might. Yes, Mike Hamilton has shown Pearl some serious commitment with facilities and the like, and Pearl's salary at Tennessee has almost tripled since he arrived. His current deal escalates to $2.2 million for the 2009-10 season.
But coach Pearl had to call out his fans for being dissatisfied for winning their division and making the NCAA Tournament on four of four tries. He witnessed the quick kill of a coach of 17 years the season after winning his division. No matter what he does, he feels like he's always third on campus behind football, regardless of the coach, and the Lady Vols as long as Pat Summitt is around.
And like it or not, Memphis has something to offer. Easy conference. Rich talent base. Easier path to the national championship. An angry and spurned fanbase with a FedEx airliner full of make-me-feel-better money. An opportunity to be King of the Campus.
Mike Hamilton says that Memphis hasn't called to ask for permission to speak with Pearl, and he says that if they do, he will tell them no. What will Pearl think of an athletic director that won't even let him talk to other schools?
Hamilton also says that the $1.8 million buyout should keep Pearl at home. Mr. SEC says that Hamilton shouldn't be so cocky, and GVX cites "a source close to Tennessee's program" has said that Pearl has indeed expressed interest through intermediaries.
If Pearl does in fact go to Memphis, I blame us. The orange poison. Can't we just do our part as fans to make our own grass green every once in awhile?