March 19, 2014
Bruce Pearl had a good time after being introduced as Auburn's basketball coach (Zach Brand photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- That noon departure? Didn't happen. Bruce Pearl had too much to do Wednesday on his second day as Auburn's new basketball coach, so he asked for a three-hour delay in his flight that, one way or another, would take him back to ESPN for the rest of the week.
His day started at 5:30 a.m. with individual meetings with Auburn players. And there were the updates on the house hunting led by his wife, Brandy.
"She's totally in charge of that," Pearl said.
Pearl will be back on ESPN at 8:30 Thursday morning as a basketball analyst, a job he's held the since 2012. He'll be on all day, for up to four days, talking about the NCAA Tournament, if not a little Auburn.
Pearl made a wildly favorable impression on Auburn fans Tuesday on his first day on the job. After that, he spent two hours with Auburn compliance so he and his assistants could be recertified, as all coaches have to do.
It shouldn't be lost that Pearl has spent time with his players, too.
"The first thing last night was meeting with the team as a group. That was important," Pearl said. "We've all gone through a lot in a very short period of time. It's traumatic when there's change in a coaching staff.
"The first priority was to get to know one another and ask for a little time so we can each evaluate each other and trust each other. My vision for them is to lay the foundation for what the future looks like."
Wednesday, he was talking to the players again, 20 minutes at a time, "which isn't enough time, but at least I got to listen to them about their families, what they're worried about, and set the tone for what we're going to be doing the next few days."
Pearl has been upfront, whether mapping out the short term, or so publicly talking the day before about his past problems at Tennessee that may delay his recruiting until mid-August.
"It needed to be addressed," Pearl said. "I think one of the things we tried to do since the moment we made the mistake was own it, teach from it, learn from it. It will eventually be behind me. This gives me a chance to move forward."
And Auburn basketball, too.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine