Bruce Pearl passes on Texas Legends head coaching job

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According to’s Andy Katz, former Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl has turned down a job offer that would have made him the new head coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends:

Less than a week after receiving a three-year, show-cause penalty from the NCAA’s committee on infractions, former Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl has decided to leave the sport and head into the private sector.

Pearl said in a statement Tuesday that he is turning down a job offer to coach the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks‘ D-League franchise, and instead is joining H.T. Hackney Co. in Knoxville, Tenn., as vice president of marketing.

Given the circumstances surrounding Pearl’s departure from his last head coaching job, it’s not surprising that he wants to stay out of the spotlight for a little while. The Legends are currently coached by Nancy Lieberman, who is the first and only woman to have ever coached a D-League or NBA franchise.

Bruce Pearl could coach Maverick’s D-League team


Bruce Pearl cannot commit any recruiting violations as the coach of the Texas Legends of the D-League.

And the former Tennessee head coach could get that gig coaching the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

The Texas Legends are making a hard push to hire former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to replace Nancy Lieberman as coach of the D-League franchise, according to NBA coaching sources….

“When the world champions call you have to listen,” Pearl said. “Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have been great and I’m looking forward to talking to them.”

Pearl will interview Thursday with the team and Stein says it could be the job if he wants it. He may not want it, there are offers out for him to be a college basketball analyst (he can’t be worse than Steve Lavin) and that job both pays better and has a lighter workload. That’s hard to pass up.

Pearl is going to struggle to get a Division I college gig again (not for a long time after the waves of recruiting violations found at Tennessee) so jumping to the NBA to coach makes sense for him. This is how you get a foot in the door — do a good job in the D-League for a year or two and you’ll get an assistant’s gig in the NBA somewhere.

Can Pearl coach at the pro level? He certainly won at the college level, but frankly most college games are won during recruiting season. Talent wins out at all levels, but in college the disparity from program to program is much greater. He can motivate, we’ll see how his Xs and Os stack up. But it looks like he’s going to get a chance.

Celtics assistant Frank “consultant” in Tennessee job search. Right.

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And now the spin starts….

Yesterday we told you how Celtics lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank was an early front-runner in the search for a new head coach at Tennessee. Frank used to be an assistant coach there before going on to the NBA.

Now the spin comes back that university officials were only talking to Frank as a consultant on the job search, sources told A. Sherrod Blakely at CSN New England. To get his input on other people interested in the job that might be a good fit.

Right. If that is all you think was going on I want to sell you tickets to a special dinner engagement with Tupac and Elvis.

This is how a coaching search works: Frank (and/or his agent) will be contacted through back channels by unofficial university representatives to gauge if there is interest and a fit well before any official contact is made. So, maybe the official Vols contact with Frank was to ask who he thought would be a good replacement for the recently canned Bruce Pearl, but it came with subtext.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons Frank may want to only recommend others for that job. It’s a football school, the basketball program is about to get slapped with NCAA sanctions, and Frank is knee deep with the Celtics right now and will be for a couple more months, meaning the job would sit vacant for a long time before he steps in. Oh, and there’s the fact he likely will get another shot at an NBA job in the coming years (maybe with Boston, depending on what Doc Rivers decides to do).

But officially, Frank is a consultant. That’s today’s story.