Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee fired Bruce Pearl after a season in which the coach was charged with unethical conduct for lying to NCAA investigators during a probe into recruiting.
In a statement released by the school Monday night, athletic director Mike Hamilton said Tennessee officials made the decision to relieve Pearl of his duties after learning about “additional violations committed on September 14 and in March 2011” by the staff.
Tennessee has agreed to pay Pearl $948,728 worth of salary and benefits as part of his dismissal agreement.
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.
Pearl acknowledged in a tearful press conference on Sept. 10 that he had given investigators false information when asked about a cookout at his home attended by high school juniors. The NCAA has since charged the Tennessee basketball and football programs with a dozen violations.
After a 75-45 loss to Michigan on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Pearl said that he planned to be accountable for the mistakes he had made but his “goal and desire is to be the basketball coach at Tennessee next year and for a long time.”
Tennessee docked his salary by $1.5 million over five years, banned him from off-campus recruiting for a year and terminated his contract in September. Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive tacked on an eight-game suspension from conference play.
Hamilton and Cheek had voiced support for Pearl after he admitted lying, but last week Hamilton said that Pearl’s future would reviewed once the season ended.
Failing to notify Tennessee of another possible recruiting violation that occurred just four days after his tearful press conference may have ultimately caused Pearl to lose the support of his bosses.