In the midst of coaching Auburn basketball to what could be its best season in program history, Bruce Pearl’s future on The Plains is in doubt.
Since former assistant Chuck Person was arrested and later indicted on six federal corruption charges shortly before the season, Auburn has been at the front of the FBI probe consuming college basketball and it has left the university asking Pearl for answers.
“We’ve complied enough to still be here,” Pearl said in a taped interview which appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday Saturday morning. “I wouldn’t be coaching here if there were greater problems.”
Auburn is conducting an ongoing internal investigation into the men’s basketball program which President Steven Leath has found Pearl unwilling to fully cooperate with.
Two of Pearl’s assistants, Jordan VerHulst and Frankie Sullivan, were put on paid administrative leave in November and players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy have been ruled ineligible for this season by the NCAA.
“We don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true,” Pearl said. “We know what’s alleged. The university has put itself under a very strong investigation to go through this process.”
While Pearl’s Tigers currently hold a record of 23-3 and are in the mix to possibly claim a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, the head coach is optimistic he will remain at Auburn for years to come.
“I own this job,” Pearl said. “I own Auburn basketball. It’s mine. I’d love to be able to have a legacy.”