clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hulk smash!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

You may have heard the story: Dr. Bruce Banner, a genius in his field, is caught up in radioactive fall out while testing a new weapon he was developing. As a result, Banner is now prone to involuntary transformation into The Incredible Hulk, a condition equal parts blessing and curse. Banner's intelligence defies measurement, but as his emotional level rises, he morphs into the Hulk, a greenish monster with little self-control, superhuman strength, and regenerative healing abilities. A complex character, the Hulk nobly leads the Pantheon, a group of superheroes allied against all that is evil, but because of his limited self-control and destructive tendencies, he is often targeted by the authorities.

BREAKING NEWS: Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl is the real Bruce Banner.

Many of the folks on Rocky Top consider what Pearl did last year with a floundering men's basketball program the mark of genius. Entering the 2005-06 season, most expected the Vols to finish fifth out of six teams in the SEC East. After all, the program had been languishing in mediocrity for years. But by the end of his first season as head coach, Pearl had guided the team to 22 victories, won the SEC East, and swept its regular season series against four of the other five SEC East opponents, including eventual national champion Florida. He reenergized and regenerated the Tennessee men's basketball program by infecting his team, the UT student body, and the city of Knoxville with his enthusiastic brand of marketing and a "controlled chaos" style of play that was wildly entertaining even when the team lost. Attendance at men's basketball games went through the roof, and by the end of the year, he had been recognized as the Sporting News' national coach of the year.

Okay, so maybe he's a basketball genius, but does he give himself over to emotional outbursts that transform him into something else? Exhibit B:

This off-the-charts enthusiasm and emotion has won over the hearts and minds of his team and Volunteer fans, and it has, more often than not, directly resulted in the Pantheon's destruction of its adversaries.

Well, then. Is he, like Savage Hulk, targeted by the authorities? Oh, yeah. The Men in Stripes have been known to hit him with technicals at the most inopportune times. Heck, he's even been ejected from high school games. As a spectator. Twice.

And then the kicker. His skin color varies. There can be no doubt. Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl is in fact The Merged Hulk/Professor in the flesh, possessing the intelligence of Bruce Banner, the cunning of Joe Fixit, and the powers, abilities, and destructive tendencies of Savage Hulk. And Vol fans are absolutely loving it.

The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets.