Bruce Pearl: Mike Hamilton's comments were 'a surprise'
"I was the one that broke these (NCAA) rules," coach Bruce Pearl added. "I put myself in this position."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WATE) - Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl said Thursday comments by Athletics Director Mike Hamilton "came as a bit of a surprise."
During a NCAA news media briefing in Charlotte, N.C. before the Vols' NCAA tournament game Friday against Michigan, Pearl said he expected Hamilton would evaluate him at the "end of the season."
Pearl was responding to comments made by Hamilton Wednesday on Knoxville radio station WNML the Sports Animal.
"We don't know the answer today. We've done a lot of soul searching about the direction of our program and we'll continue to do that and we'll decide after we're out of the NCAA Tournament what direction it is that we're going to go next," Hamilton told interviewer Jimmy Hyams, according to a story posted on the radio station's website.
Addressing the speculation about his job, Pearl said Thursday, "If there's a change, then it will be dealt with."
"I was the one that broke these (NCAA) rules," he added. "I put myself in this position."
Coach Pearl also said the basketball program is trying to focus on the players and their play in the NCAA tournament.
During the media briefing, junior guard Cameron Tatum said he "fully expects coach Pearl to be back next year."
A source told 6 Sports Thursday that Hamilton said his remarks about Pearl's future were misinterpreted.
Hamilton reportedly apologized to Pearl Wednesday night during a Tennessee team function in Charlotte, with only those very close to the program in attendance.
Although the media pressed coach Pearl during Thursday's press conference, he would not say whether the apology was made.
When asked about his contract, Pearl directed the media to talk to Hamilton.