Auburn picks Bruce Pearl as new head basketball coach

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Auburn, AL, United States (4E Sports) – Auburn has confirmed that Bruce Pearl will be the Tigers’ next basketball coach.

“I’m humbled and blessed to be back in the game that I love,” Pearl said in a statement. “I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s time to rebuild the Auburn basketball program and bring it to a level of excellence so many of the other teams on campus enjoy.”

The 54-year-old Pearl led Tennessee to the NCAA tournament in each of his six seasons before he was fired in 2011.

He was fired for lying to the NCAA in March 2011 in regards to the recruitment of Aaron Craft, who ended up at Ohio State, and given a three-year show cause by the NCAA.

The show-cause expires in August and will not allow him to have contact with potential recruits this summer. Pearl, however, will be allowed to evaluate recruits in the all-important July recruiting period.

Pearl has worked for ESPN as an analyst the past two years.

Auburn fired Tony Barbee last week after the Tigers finished 14-16 and 6-12 in the SEC. The former coach at UTEP was 49-75 in four seasons at Auburn.

“From the moment I met Coach Pearl and heard his vision for our basketball program, it was clear he’s the right man at the right time for Auburn,” athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement. “Coach Pearl is a proven winner who will bring energy and excitement to our program.

“We have raised the bar for Auburn basketball, and I could not be more excited for our student-athletes and our future under Coach Pearl’s leadership. I know he agrees with me — it’s time to win,” Jacobs added.

Pearl spent four seasons at Milwaukee and took the program to two NCAA tournaments — including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2005. He was hired at Tennessee in 2005 and was 145-61 in six seasons with the Vols.

Pearl is the fifth coach over the last 50 years to coach multiple SEC schools, joining Don DeVoe (Tennessee/Florida), Tubby Smith (Georgia/Kentucky), C.M. Newton (Alabama/Vanderbilt) and Eddie Fogler (Vanderbilt/South Carolina). Those four coaches all had above .500 records in their second SEC stint.

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