The second life of Bruce Pearl began in earnest on Monday night as the former Tennessee basketball coach made his debut appearance on SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel 91.
Radio and television has become a popular landing spot for former players and coaches over the years. But Pearl doesn’t want to be just any former coach with a radio job.
“I want the people who are really serious about college basketball to feel like they have to listen,” said Pearl, who co-hosted the two-hour show with Cbssports.com’s Jeff Goodman and sports radio veteran Mark Packer. “Because they’re going to hear some things about matchups and coaching or recruits that they wouldn’t hear from a regular radio talk show.”
No subject regarding college basketball will be taboo, whether its conference realignment or new NCAA rules and regulations, according to the coach.
Said Pearl: “Is this the beginning of four or five major conferences? We know the BCS is going that direction. Is the NCAA going in that direction? I don’t know. It needs to be discussed. I think Without Butler, without Butler, without Cinderella, I don’t think the tournament has the same passion and energy.”
Guests from Monday’s show included Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings and Xavier point guard and Hempstead native Tu Holloway.
“The thing I was most pleased about was the interaction with the coaches. I know them all. I’ve played against them all. The fact that they were interacting with me as a coach was cool. That was kind of fun.”
As for getting the chance to display his knowledge and passion for college basketball, Pearl, who was fired by Tennessee in March and slapped with a three-year show cause penalty by the NCAA for lying to investigators about violations committed, is grateful.
“I felt blessed (opportunity). For years I had heard from different people in television and radio ‘Hey whenever you stop coaching, you might be good at this’,” said Pearl. “I don’t know if I’m going to be good at this. But I’m going to try. If I am, SiriusXM is a company I’ll be loyal to, because they gave me my shot.”
Pearl led Tennessee to six NCAA Tournaments and to its only No.1 ranking in 2008. Prior to Tennessee, Pearl coached the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2001 to 2005 and led the school to the NCAA Tournament twice, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2005.
The coach will co-host the show with Goodman once a week until January, when the show will begin airing from noon to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.