Pearl negotiates new deal
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has a newly renegotiated six-year contract keeping him with the Volunteers.
It came hours after reports surfaced that Memphis wanted to talk to Pearl about replacing John Calipari, who left for Kentucky.
Interim president Jan Simek and athletic director Mike Hamilton announced Thursday night that they and Pearl had agreed in principle to the new deal. Details will be released within the next few days.
Pearl said in a statement that Hamilton has been supportive and committed to making Tennessee one of college basketball's best jobs.
"I want to ensure the University of Tennessee and its fans that I'm 100 percent committed to this school, this program and our student-athletes," Pearl said.
"I truly love my job, and I want it to be clear that I'm not interested in any other job. There's no place in the country I'd rather be than the University of Tennessee. My children are happy here in the Knoxville community. One is in high school, one is in middle school and two are currently attending the university," Pearl said.
This is similar to what happened last year when Pearl was linked to openings at Indiana and other schools. Tennessee unveiled a six-year deal last July that paid him $1.6 million for the 2009-09 season with an average of $2.3 million a year. A two-time coach of the year in the Southeastern Conference, Pearl took Tennessee to the first No. 1 ranking in school history in February 2008 by beating then-No. 1 Memphis and Calipari on the Tigers' home court.
Preseason favorites to win the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee (21-13) shared the East Division title -- the Vols' third share of a division title in four seasons under Pearl. The Vols played for their first SEC tournament championship in 18 years but lost and then reached the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season before losing in the first round.
Pearl said he and his staff are building a top-25 program.
"Tennessee has all the resources necessary to win championships, from our recently upgraded facilities to our ability to schedule," he said.
Hamilton called Pearl's performance at Tennessee "nothing short of phenomenal."
"We are committed to helping him and his staff to achieve even greater heights in the years ahead," he said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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