Tennessee fires Pearl

Published 1:54 am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has fired Bruce Pearl after a season that saw the coach charged with unethical conduct for lying to NCAA investigators during a probe into recruiting, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

The person spoke with The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the university has not announced the firing.

“We have no comment at this time,” UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday night at a Lady Vols basketball game. No other Tennessee officials returned messages seeking comment.

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Associate head coach Tony Jones, who filled in while Pearl served a suspension earlier this season, thanked the fans on Twitter on Monday night.

“Sorry Vol Nation it had to end,” Jones wrote. “I love each and everyone of you to the bottom of my heart.”

In six seasons, Pearl, 51, led the Volunteers to their first No. 1 ranking in 2008 and first NCAA tournament regional finals appearance, missing out on a trip to the 2010 Final Four by a single point.