Auburn hires Bruce Pearl

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(DOTHAN) Bruce Pearl has been hired as the next coach of the Auburn Tigers.

"I'm humbled and blessed to be back in the game that I love," Pearl told "I don't know how long it will take, but it's time to rebuild the Auburn basketball program and bring it to a level of excellence so many of the other teams on campus enjoy."

Auburn fired Tony Barbee last week after the Tigers finished 14-16 and 6-12 in the SEC. The former coach at UTEP was 49-75 in four seasons at Auburn.

Pearl was fired in 2011 after taking Tennessee to the NCAA tournament in each of his six seasons.

He has worked for ESPN as an analyst the past two years.

He was fired for lying to the NCAA in March 2011 in regards to the recruitment of Aaron Craft (at the time a junior in high school who ended up at Ohio State) and given a three-year show cause by the NCAA. The show-cause expires in August and will not allow him to have contact with potential recruits this summer.

Pearl, however, will be allowed to evaluate recruits in the all-important July recruiting period.

"From the moment I met Coach Pearl and heard his vision for our basketball program, it was clear he's the right man at the right time for Auburn," athletic director Jay Jacobs told the school's website. "Coach Pearl is a proven winner who will bring energy and excitement to our program. We have raised the bar for Auburn basketball, and I could not be more excited for our student-athletes and our future under Coach Pearl's leadership. I know he agrees with me -- it's time to win."

Pearl spent four seasons at Milwaukee and took the program to two NCAA tournaments -- including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2005. He was hired at Tennessee in 2005 and was 145-61 in six seasons with the Vols.

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