FWTCT Not So Short List: Bruce Pearl

In my time writing for FWTCT and talking on Bulldog Sports Radio, I've been known to have a few crazy opinions. After all, I was the guy who hung in there for giving Rick Stansbury time to turn the program back around.

Here's the thing. There is a pretty good coach out there, and we might could get him. If I told you there was a coach with a 231-99 record in Division I basketball, eight NCAA tournament appearances (3 Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight) in ten seasons, and a 231-46 record with a national championship at the Division II level, would you want him? If I told you this coach was a great recruiter, built strong teams, and worked to promote other programs, would you want him? Of course, except that it is Bruce Pearl.

I know this idea is crazy. I know this idea probably has no chance at happening. However, as I mentioned on the Tuesday morning edition of the Daily Grind, I find the idea of hiring Bruce Pearl to be the next head coach as an intriguing, calculated risk.

Hiring Bruce Pearl would be a career defining decision for Scott Stricklin. If Mississippi State experienced success on the level that Pearl experienced at UW-Milwauke and Tennessee, he would be seen as someone who rolled the dice and made the big hire to put Mississippi State basketball at the next level. If Pearl returned to his old ways and Mississippi State suffered major penalties, Stricklin would be chased out of town, and he would probably never get another chance at being an athletic director.

There are a few tricky steps involved in this process. The biggest issue would be that no school has ever hired a coach during a show-cause period. Mississippi State would have to tell the Council on Infractions why they were hiring Pearl, and hope that they would drop some of the sanctions against Pearl, the biggest being that he has a recruiting ban. Even worse, if Pearl did not change his ways, the NCAA would lower a mighty hammer on the Bulldogs.

However, it isn't like Mississippi State hasn't taken a chance before. They did hire Jackie Sherrill, and he did not come in with the best of situations. He kept it between the lines enough, and he turned Mississippi State football around. Of course, Sherrill was never personally "convicted" by the NCAA for any of the major wrong doings while Pearl was.

This is really a question of trust. Can Stricklin trust Pearl to not mess up? Perhaps Mississippi State could write a clause into a contract with harsh penalties should Pearl run afoul of the NCAA to entice good behavior.

All I know is the man is a winner, and he wants to win. He will hook the tights and put a foot on the rope to try to get the win. Can he win by being clean? I think he can. Will he get a chance? Not likely. is the risk of major penalties and a coach who cannot recruit for two years worth the chance to gain many years of NCAA tournament runs? I think it is has to be considered.

If this was roulette, it would not be picking between black or red, it would be betting on green.

@justinrsutton

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