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Theology influences Auburn coaching hires

Bruce Pearl ‘repented’ and that landed him at Auburn

Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl's Twitter image.
Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl’s Twitter image.

“The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Understanding how a known liar ended up coaching at another SEC school is a big mystery. How a known liar ended up coaching at the one SEC that puts emphasis on faith and family values is an even greater mystery. However, thanks to the Chicago Tribune and Teddy Greenstein, we have a better understanding of what drives the thinking of Auburn’s leadership.

According to Greenstein, “Jacobs said in a telephone interview that he ‘cut right to it’ and asked Pearl why he lied to the NCAA.
“As Bruce began to tell me the story, a lot of emotions came through,” Jacobs said. “I knew he was remorseful — and that the toughest challenge would be getting him to forgive himself. I knew he had repented. He talked about the harm it had done to college basketball, the University of Tennessee and to his family. He didn’t talk about himself.”


Jacobs viewed Pearl’s conduct almost like it was…a sin. How old fashioned.

And it is hard to criticize Jacobs for doing three things here. First, he hired a great basketball coach. Second, before he hired the coach he asked direct questions. Third, he used his core beliefs to examine the potential hire and evaluate the decision. It showed very good leadership.

It is clear that Jay Jacobs’ theology influenced his coaching hires. He has a core set of values and judges everything according to that. It might be an old fashioned standard of right and wrong and justice and judgment and God and sin, but it is a standard that has led Auburn to some strong rounds of success.

All you have to do is look at the recent coaching records and you’ll see it. Gene Chizik believed it was a God Thing that led his Auburn Tigers to a national championship. Chizik’s successor at Auburn, Gus Malzahn hasn’t done too bad either getting into the national championship game against FSU last season.

While theology might not guide Alabama’s coaching decisions, one hopes the University of Alabama’s leadership team can muster the same level of leadership in handling the coaching issues involved in Alabama’s basketball program.

In the meantime, check out Greenstein’s story on Auburn and Bruce Pearl. There are many interesting elements—including Pearl’s revelation that he is a conservative Republican.

7 thoughts on “Theology influences Auburn coaching hires”

  1. Interesting article.

    A conservative Republican and he likes being in the south cause he’s surrounded by them? Might play well with the average Auburn fan, but could be awkward dinner conversation on the recruiting trail. I’m sure he wouldn’t bring it up much there.

    I had forgotten about the taping of the phone conversation deal.

    About Alabama’s coaching situation: Anthony Grant’s biggest plus so far is he has a reputation as an honest recruiter and all around honest person.

    Maybe the solution for Alabama’s basketball future is to have continuity with the coach. With football spring practice coming up, I venture to say the majority of Alabama fans have already put basketball behind them, if they ever cared that much in the first place.

    1. True. Complacency and a general sense of “I give up,” no doubt helps Anthony Grant’s chances of coming back to UA.

      However, I remember the days when Alabama basketball meant something. I remember winning games and winning SEC tournament titles and going to the NCAA tournament every year and most years making a push into the Sweet 16.

      Even Mark Gottfried had Alabama in the mix for the tournament and made an Elite Eight push one season.

      Grant’s style of basketball is boring. He does nothing to promote the program and most importantly—-his teams aren’t in the NCAA tournament.

  2. No arguments from me on any of that. Being an honest recruiter is nice. Being an honest and GOOD recruiter is better.

    Being a head coach of any sport, you have to have a system for recruiting, and coaching, and be good at both, for your team to win.

    Saban is exhibit A on how that works.

    I just don’t see enough pressure building to remove Grant now with most fans not being bothered enough to be vocal.

    And Grant engineered a mild turnaround from last year. Got to get some players.

  3. Okay

    here goes.

    Shoot the Bird. Shoot the bird.

    Now get that dog… go rooo roo roo

    now get that dog

    Shoot that bird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get that dog go roo roo roo

    Get that dog

  4. The “shoot the bird, get that dog” thing was an unofficial cheer we had in my high school days

    on the bus ride back from a winning game one of the guys would yell “Shoot the bird” and (it was a call and response thing) everyone would yell “wooo woooo” and then the rest was Now get that dog! Go Rooo Rooo Rooo!

    If it has any meaning it is something about determination and persistence…..I suppose

    Anyway….. about Alabama maybe getting a new basketball coach

    Who is out there that would be willing to come to Alabama?

    The best name I’ve heard…and I have heard very few really… is Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall

    He has had tremendous success and could be a great hire for Alabama

    If Alabama’s leadership has the determination and persistence to get that dog!

    1. nothing to worry about, dog.

      Grant’s going nowhere.

      (con’t say that about two or three players though)

  5. A great white shark in the Gulf of Mexico? Who could believe that?

    It was a Mako.

    As for Alabama basketball? Get the students involved!

    You have said this.

    I am on your side!

    You have good ideas. Keep it up!

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