The Time I Talked to Bruce Pearl

Kentucky basketball is playing Auburn tomorrow night. Auburn is really good this year. Auburn is coached by Bruce Pearl. A little Bruce Pearl background for the non-sports people. Bruce Pearl was the coach at the University of Tennessee. While he was the coach he invited a recruit and his family to a cookout at his house while the recruit was on an unofficial visit. Pearl told people at the cookout that the recruit was not supposed to be there and asked them not to tell anyone. When the NCAA investigated the incident, Pearl lied about it. He eventually acknowledged that it happened and that he lied about it. He was fired by Tennessee and due to sanctions was not a coach for a period of time. While not coaching, he was an analyst for ESPN, but also Vice President of Marketing for Knoxville wholesaler H.T. Hackney.

His position at Hackney is where I come in to the picture. My brother works for a company in Kentucky that did business with H.T. Hackney. This put him in position to meet and work with Bruce Pearl. We stay at my brother’s house when we are visiting family in Kentucky. One year around Christmas we were at his house and he took a work related phone call. After the call he told me that it was Bruce Pearl who called. I told him he should have let me talk to him since I was a huge college basketball fan and always liked Pearl. My brother called him back and said that his brother was visiting, was a UK fan but also a fan of Pearl’s and wanted to talk to him. Pearl was happy to do so and I was handed the phone.

I would like to say that I wasn’t awkward and weird on the call, but honestly, I can’t remember much of what I actually said.  Pearl asked me what I thought about UK’s team that year and for my thoughts on their upcoming game against Louisville. He actually listened to my basketball analysis even though he was the one who was paid to do that. He was very nice and friendly and I was the one who eventually said that I should let him get back to work. He did not seem to be in a hurry to stop talking to the random guy who happened to be related to a work associate. I came away from the call very impressed with him and his willingness to spend time talking to me about basketball. I will now always be a fan(unless his team is playing UK)

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