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Fired Pearl: Coaching Vols was the best

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee fired coach Bruce Pearl on Monday after a season in which he was charged with unethical conduct for lying to NCAA investigators during an inquiry into recruiting.

In six seasons, Pearl, 51, led the Volunteers to their first No. 1 ranking in 2008 and first NCAA Tournament region finals appearance in 2010.

Pearl acknowledged Sept. 10 that he gave investigators false information when asked about a cookout at his home attended by high school juniors. The NCAA has since charged the Vols basketball and football programs with a dozen violations.

Failing to notify Tennessee of another possible recruiting violation might have ultimately caused Pearl to lose the support of his bosses.

"As many of you know, I have been fired as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers," Pearl (145-61) said in a Facebook post. "This really does not come as a surprise to me, but my emotions are getting the best of me.

"This is perhaps the saddest day in my life. I loved everything about Tennessee, Knoxville and the Volunteers. These were the best years of my life."

Kevin Ware, a highly recruited guard from Rockdale County High (Ga.), asked to be released from his national letter of intent. He said he had been assured Pearl would return.

Pearl constantly promoted Tennessee, once appearing at a women's game with his chest painted orange.

Miami RALLIES IN NIT: Durand Scott scored 20 as host UM (21-14) rallied past Missouri State 81-72 in the second round. The Hurricanes play at Alabama on Wednesday. The Tide beat New Mexico 74-67.

GATORS ADVANCE IN WNIT: UF (20-14) beat Florida Gulf Coast (28-4) 74-69 in the second round, ending the Eagles' 42-game home winning streak. The Gators play at Charlotte at 7 Thursday.

Fired Pearl: Coaching Vols was the best 03/21/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 1:24am]

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