Roy Exum: Pearl Alive, Bishop Dead

Sunday, March 16, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Bruce Pearl, the former Tennessee basketball coach who was famously fired for lying to NCAA investigators after the 2011 season, may soon be back in the game. Auburn coach Tony Barbee was fired on Wednesday night, mere minutes after his Tigers dropped a 74-56 opening-round loss to South Carolina in the SEC tournament, and by Saturday the rumors were rampant that the 53-year-old Pearl was a leading contender.

Pearl, who took the Vols to six NCAA tournaments and compiled a lofty 145-61 record at UT, has been an executive for the Knoxville-based H.T. Hackney since his fall from grace. Hackney is owned by UT mega-booster Bill Sansom and Pearl has also worked for ESPN this basketball season. And, while there is little doubt Pearl will return to coaching, he is still bound by a “show cause” penalty demanding any school that hires him must convince NCAA officials the validity in doing so.

Ironically, two of the NCAA’s investigators during the Pearl scandal now work for the Auburn athletic department and, if either Rich McGlynn or Dave Didion signed off on Pearl, the hiring should be a smooth one. McGlynn and Didion are associate athletic directors under Jay Jacobs, who will make the hire.

Some Tennessee fans petitioned for Pearl in place of Cuonzo Martin during the regular season but Martin’s Vols played well towards the end of the campaign. UT is expected to be in the NCAA field despite Saturday’s 56-49 loss to top-ranked Florida in the SEC semis. UT now has a 21-12 record.

Barbee compiled an 18-54 record against SEC opponents in the four years he coached at Auburn.

* * *

Details are still a bit hazy but it seems that last Sunday, minutes after the weekly services at the Miracle Faith World Outreach Church, Bishop Bobby Davis asked the Bridgeport, Conn., congregation for forgiveness for an act of infidelity that had occurred during his 50-year marriage to his wife Christine.

As people shouted, “We forgive you, we love you!” the minister, a certified marriage and family therapist, suffered a massive heart attack in the pulpit and was later pronounced dead.

* * *

Jason Greenslate, who was once caught by TV cameras using food stamps to buy lobster, was being interviewed by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity this week and the TV host confronted the 29-year-old about driving a Cadillac Escalade and visiting strip clubs while refusing to work for a living wage.

Greenslate was asked who pays for his government assistance and he told the TV host, “Government, taxes, us, the people.”

Hannity countered, “Not, you, because you aren’t paying taxes,” and pointed out 60 percent of every worker’s dollar in California goes to taxes. Greenslate, wearing sunglasses, a backwards ball cap, and smoking an electronic cigarette, appeared irked when Hannity said he didn’t seem to care where the money comes from. “Who says I don’t care … I want to thank the United States of America, and the situation – the way things are set up.”

The way Jason sees it, he “works” when he practices with the band but when Hannity asked him point blank: “If I could get you a job that would pay you $80,000 a year driving a truck in North Dakota, would you take it?” Greenslate answered an easy, “No.”

* * *

Lt. Col. Frank Dailey was eating an early lunch at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Toledo one day last month when an 8-year-old boy approached and handed him a note: It read, “Dear soldier – my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 dollars (wrapped in the note) in the parking lot when we got here. We like to play it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”

Lt. Col. Dailey said he will never forget the incident and carries the note with him everywhere. He’s already given the $20 to a needy person and personally thanked Myles, who father was killed in Iraq five weeks after Myles was born.

* * *

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in Atlanta Friday, giving a speech on the Constitution, and told a huge crowd of lawyers: "The Constitution is not a living organism … it’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."

Yet it still provides for a flexible legal system, he claimed: "You want the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and enact it. You think it's a bad idea? Persuade them the other way and repeal it. And you can change your mind. If you repeal it and find there are a lot more murders, you can put it back in," he argued. "That's flexibility."

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