Mixed farewell from Vol fans to Bruce Pearl heading to Auburn

Mixed farewell from Vol fans to Bruce Pearl heading to Auburn

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By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - If you're a hoops fan, chances are you either love or hate that Bruce Pearl is the new head basketball coach at Auburn.

From 2005 to 2011, Pearl led Tennessee to several championship games. His announcement Tuesday that he'll be leaving East Tennessee for Alabama both surprised and disappointed fans.

Some fans that spoke with 6 News either wished good luck or bad luck to Pearl, and they're not looking forward to a UT-Auburn match up.

Through drills or dribbling in championship games, Tennessee fans were always cheering for coach Bruce Pearl.

"He always brought an exciting brand of basketball to the court," said fan Carter Moore.

Fans received the news Tuesday, learning Rocky Top won't always be home sweet home to this captivating coach.

"I think it's awful. I think that we should've tried to keep him at any cost. I think he really energized the fan base. People that weren't hardcore fans came out for Bruce Pearl," said Mike Adams.

Others said it's good news Pearl will be doing what he does best.

"I'm happy for him that he's going to be back in coaching. I wish he would've been hired outside the SEC just so Tennessee fans could move on a little easier. But it'll be fun to get to play Auburn and see him," said Nathan Diambra.

"If that's a better financial decision and career move for him and his family, then you can't hold it against him. If that's what's going to make him better, then I wish him all the best," added Billy Brotherton.

"Well I'm glad for him personally because he deserved an opportunity to coach again at a high level. Auburn is going to have a great program," said Alex Johnson.

Vol fans say this move may be able to lift the dark cloud for Pearl, who came under fire back in 2010 when he got in trouble for lying to NCAA investigators who accused him of breaking recruiting rules. He was fired by UT in March 2011.

"I think they can finally put that to rest and take some pressure off the current coaching staff," said Calvin Whitaker.

Rocky Top fans say losing Pearl doesn't mean we'll never make it back to a NCAA tournament.

"As Tennessee fans our team is still alive and we're playing the best basketball season," added Moore.

While this news may sting, some fans say it's going to be exciting to watch Pearl turn the basketball program around at Auburn.

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