Bruce Pearl Can Coach!

by Paul Lyboult
(Syracuse, NY)

When it comes to college athletics and their respective institutions often times many programs are known best for the sports they excel at. Ask anyone down in the state of Florida and aside from the past couple of years you will hear everyone talk about the football teams Florida, Florida State, and Miami roll out every year.

Not every college is known for football, some like North Carolina and especially Duke, are globally known as basketball institutions that should make the "Final Four" every year. It takes success on a global stage, big time wins, and an energetic coach to really transform a school for being known for one sport & then the next day being known for another.

Flash back to 1998 when the Tennessee Volunteers won the BCS football national championship. Philip Fulmer had fully arrived as the Vols coach, and perhaps the best coach of that time in the SEC. In fact Tennessee saw so much success under Fulmer (147 wins in fact) that the basketball team was just about forgotten.

Now fast forward to 2008 and it's Fulmer's football team that is taking a back seat to one of the nation's rising basketball programs. The Vols squad, led by high profile coach Bruce Pearl, is erupting.

Maybe it's the 25-2 record the team has entering this week's games, or it could be the upset of #1 Memphis on February 23rd. For the answer people should look no further than Coach Bruce Pearl.

Call Pearl the Philip Fulmer of Tennessee basketball. Don't be fooled by the orange jumpsuits he often wears while strolling the sidelines, or be mistaken by that slick-backed hair, just know the guy can coach. Ending Memphis's 47 home game winning streak is one thing, giving the school your coaching its first ever number one ranking is certainly another.

Now, I'm not the greatest SEC Basketball fan, I crave the ACC or Big East games, but what I've seen from Pearl has made me love SEC basketball.

His charisma is one that most college coaches need to take note of. Every interview of the guy I have seen on television or via internet has made me become his biggest fan.

Did I mention he can coach? For the record Pearl has 379 NCAA victories and counting. Since arriving at Tennessee he has added 50+ victories to his coaching resume.

Don't become fueled by the hype, however, as the Vols may not even make it to the final four like their other SEC counterpart the Florida Gators.

I do believe, though, that because of Bruce Pearl and the way he has won games at "Fulmer's place", many Volunteer fans now wear basketball jerseys to class each morning.

For more about Bruce Pearl, check out Bruce Pearl Biography.

For other articles by Paul Lyboult, go to SEC Football Blog.

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