"More than anything, like family, I would ask you to stay with us in the good times and stay with us in the troubled times. As we work our way through this, I ask you to trust us.
"And for the guys that remain, I’d ask you to be there for us tonight and Sunday (Kansas game) and as we go on through this season. We’re going to need you more than ever before.’’
I also want to invite all UT students to our scrimmage tomorrow at the arena. We'll go 4-6 and have some cool prizes. But don't skip class!
"I want to ensure the University of Tennessee and its fans that I’m 100 percent committed to this school, this program and our student-athletes.
"I truly love my job, and I want it to be clear that I’m not interested in any other job. There’s no place in the country I’d rather be than the University of Tennessee. My children are happy here in the Knoxville community—one is in high school, one is in middle school and two are currently attending the university.
"My staff and I are building a consistent top-25 program and I’m honored and privileged to serve the greatest fans in the country. Tennessee has all the resources necessary to win championships, from our recently upgraded facilities to our ability to schedule.
"It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol!"
According to a source close to Tennessee's program, Pearl has expressed interest in the position through intermediaries. The reasons given would be access to the Memphis talent base, which he has not been able to lure to East Tennessee, but would fit well with his up-tempo style of play.
Pearl would also be one of the few candidates who could dominate the city in much the same way Calipari did through the sheer force of his personality.
"Hey coach, will you sign this?'' a fan said to Pearl in the tunnel after the loss to the Cowboys.
As Pearl was signing, the man said, "I was kinda hoping I would get you to sign this at practice tomorrow.''
Pearl hesitated for the slightest moment, finished signing the personalized message, and shook the man's hand.
"Thanks for coming out,'' Pearl said.
That had to be one of the hardest autographs Pearl signed.
"I was thinking about this the other day. (When) I came in here, I said it's my goal to become the least popular coach in the SEC. I just had no idea I could do it in one year. He had no idea he could do it in one week."
Kiffin started his speech by saying he would try not to offend anybody and try to be nice, but added that he was not as concerned about "ruffling a few feathers" at other SEC schools as he was about the fan base at UT.
He also pointed out that when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier questioned whether Kiffin had passed his recruiting test before going on the recruiting trail for UT he did not go complaining to the SEC commissioner. He fired back at Spurrier instead.
"Should I paint my face?" Marisa Miller asked by phone, at which point I recommended -- on behalf of heterosexuals everywhere, particularly those in Knoxville, Tenn., -- that she do nothing to hide, disguise or otherwise alter her natural self. After all, it's not everyday that a Victoria's Secret Angel attends a college basketball game; far as I know, this is the first. So get ready, Thompson-Boling Arena, because America's Supermodel and the World's Hottest Woman (according to Maxim ) will be in attendance Wednesday night when the Tennessee Vols host LSU.