SAN DIEGO — Now that the season is over for Auburn basketball, attention immediately turns toward the future of coach Bruce Pearl.
The Auburn coach said again Sunday evening after Auburn’s 84-53 loss to Clemson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament that he expects to remain with the program.
“I’m Auburn’s basketball coach,” Pearl said Sunday. “I’m blessed and happy to be Auburn’s basketball coach. I want to stay at Auburn. And I’ve got to say, all season long, I feel very good about the position we’re in, the process we’ve gone through, and my anticipation is that I’ll be Auburn’s basketball coach.”
Auburn is one of several schools involved in the current FBI and NCAA investigation into college basketball, which led to the firing of assistant coach Chuck Person, administrative leave for two staffers and season-long ineligibility for players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy.
“There hasn’t been a program in the country that has been hurt more by this FBI, NCAA investigation,” Pearl said. “We’ve lost three staffers. We’ve lost two great players the entire season. … Now, a lot of it was self-imposed, but it’s the right thing to do.”
It’s unknown what the timetable will be for any decisions involving Pearl’s future. That will be up to Auburn athletic director Allen Greene and school president Steven Leath.
“I would imagine now that the season is over, there are going to have to be some decisions made,” Pearl said. “But I can’t see, having coached all season long, being the position that we’re in right now — I’ve got no seniors — and our program is on very strong footing. But we’ve got to finish this process with the NCAA.”
On Sunday, Pearl did not have an update on the status of Purifoy. Wiley was ruled ineligible for the entire 2017-18 season but was cleared by the NCAA for 2018-19, if he decides to return to school.
Pearl added he had “a lot of guys out there that would love” to join his staff at Auburn. The Tigers did not fill the vacancy from Person’s firing.
The Auburn coach, who led the Tigers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 and first regular-season SEC title since 1999 this season, believes he’ll be in position to make that hire this offseason.
“In my mind, as long as there are no major findings that are tied to me, we’ll be fine,” Pearl said. “We certainly have other things that we’re going to have to answer to, and that’s why we have to go through this process.”
The post Bruce Pearl: ‘My anticipation is that I’ll be Auburn’s basketball coach’ appeared first on SEC Country.
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