Bruce Pearl and forward Tyler Smith embrace after Tennessee's first round win over American at the 2008 NCAA East Regional tournament. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
KNOXVILLE — Between two new football coaches and a baseball hire, coaching searches have been pretty common for the University of Tennessee men’s athletic program since 2008.
But with Bruce Pearl and his staff fired Monday, the basketball Volunteers are on the coaching market for the first time since 2005.
“Our search process will begin immediately,” UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement released Monday night. “This is a great job and will attract a significant number of interested coaches.
“Much of that interest is a tribute to what Coach Pearl has helped to build, but more importantly, what our fans have built. We will take an appropriate amount of time but will move as swiftly as is effective to bring this to conclusion.”
If the basketball program’s most recent process of hiring a new coach is any indication, UT will move quickly to land its new leader. Pearl was hired exactly two weeks after predecessor Buzz Peterson was fired.
UT had to wait for Wisconsin-Milwaukee to lose in the Sweet 16 of the 2005 NCAA tournament before beginning the interview process then. Hamilton consulted with the search firm Champ Search, and it’s likely UT again will go that route. And again, some potential candidates have teams still playing.
UT is not the only attractive job open this year, as Arkansas, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Oklahoma currently have vacancies.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...