Former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Bruce Pearl is currently serving out a three year show-cause ban by the NCAA for improper benefits and other NCAA violations. There have been rumors lately that Pearl would perhaps be interviewed by the UCLA Bruins who recently fired head coach Ben Howland. Those rumors were dispelled as he blasted the entire UCLA basketball program on ESPN radio.
“If they had fans, if they actually had people that would fill up Pauley Pavilion and fight the traffic in Westwood and care about their basketball team,” Pearl stated when asked about the school with the most delusional fan base. “They are talking about the fact that their coaches can’t live up to John Wooden. The fan base at UCLA can’t live up to the fan base that John Wooden had. They’re watching the Lakers and watching the Clippers. To think that they’re going to bring in a better coach right now is unrealistic. They just won the Pac-12; they had the No. 2 recruiting class; they think they’re going to go Final Fours in a row every year? I think that’s delusional. I don’t think that’s realistic.”
Pearl also continued on to say that UCLA was crazy for believing that they could get a coach like Shaka Smart (from VCU) because no one wants to coach for a team whose best players are one and done year after year.
However, as harsh as it may seem, there may be some truth behind Pearl’s words. The Bruins may be living in the Wooden era and not looking at their current, realistic situation as a basketball program. One thing is for sure – whoever inherits the UCLA coaching job will have a lot of work to do.