Former Tennessee men's basketball head coach and Boston College alum Bruce Pearl has emerged as one of the top candidates to replace Tony Barbee down at Auburn. Pearl hasn't confirmed whether Auburn has already reached out to him, but he's willing to listen if the school shows interest.
"You know, I think, for me, I'm really happy to talk about where I'm at and not really speak to where other folks are at," he said. "I will definitely listen. I'm not going to solicit schools. If they would like to contact me and talk about their opportunity, it's an honor, it's flattering and you see if it's the best thing for an institution and for me and my family and a coaching staff."
247Sports' Auburn affiliate AuburnUndercover is reporting that Pearl has become the leading candidate to replace Barbee. Auburn recently spent $92.5 million on a new basketball facility and is looking to put a winning product on the field. Should the Tigers hire Pearl, the school would have to go in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and "show cause" as to why they should not be penalized for Pearl's previous transgressions as coach at Tennessee.
Pearl has been out of coaching since 2011, joining ESPN as an analyst and finding work in the private industry. But he told al.com that he's not ruling out a return to the sidelines next fall.
"For me, I'm working at ESPN, I really enjoy what I'm doing, I've got a wonderful job with the HT Hackney company in private industry," Pearl said. "And because of my show-cause I obviously had to move forward with some other things in my life. With that said, basketball is still very much in my life. I miss the game, and so a lot is going to depend on timing, what's right, what's the right fit. And so over the course of this period this year we'll look and we'll see. We'll gauge what the interest is and we'll see what the fits are."