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Bruce Pearl returns to college basketball as Auburn coach

03.18.14 at 11:42 am ET

Bruce Pearl, fired as Tennessee coach in 2011 after lying to NCAA investigators and committing other violations, is back in the SEC after accepting the job at Auburn.

Pearl, who had been working as an ESPN analyst the past two seasons, spent six seasons at Tennessee, compiling a 145-61 record and taking the volunteers to the NCAA tournament every year. But he was given a three-year show cause by the NCAA, which expires in August, for being untruthful to investigators who were questioning him about his recruitment of guard Aaron Craft (now an Ohio State senior). When it was discovered that he had committed other violations, Pearl was fired by Tennessee shortly after the 2010-11 season ended.

“I’m humbled and blessed to be back in the game that I love,” the 54-year-old Pearl said in a story on Auburn‘s website. “I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s time to rebuild the Auburn basketball program and bring it to a level of excellence so many of the other teams on campus enjoy.”

Pearl, a Sharon native and Boston College alumnus, replaces former UMass player Tony Barbee, who was fired last week after going 49-75 in four seasons with the Tigers.

“From the moment I met Coach Pearl and heard his vision for our basketball program, it was clear he’s the right man at the right time for Auburn,” athletic director Jay Jacobs said on the school’s website.

“Coach Pearl is a proven winner who will bring energy and excitement to our program. We have raised the bar for Auburn basketball, and I could not be more excited for our student-athletes and our future under Coach Pearl’s leadership. I know he agrees with me — it’s time to win.”

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