Auburn hires Bruce Pearl as basketball coach

Auburn hires Bruce Pearl as basketball coach
Former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl was hired by Auburn on Tuesday. (Albert Cesare / Associated Press)

Auburn hired former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to revive a struggling basketball program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in more than a decade.

The school announced the hiring on Tuesday of the coach, who remains under a show-cause penalty from the NCAA into August. Pearl, 54, had plenty of success on the court, taking Tennessee to the NCAA tournament in each of his six seasons before being fired in March 2011 after an NCAA investigation.

NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said Auburn has 30 days to file a report to the Committee on Infractions either contesting or accepting the show-cause penalty barring Pearl from recruiting until Aug. 23.

Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said he believes Pearl "has learned from his mistake." The school did not release terms of the deal with Pearl.


UC Irvine opens NIT play

UC Irvine opens action in the National Invitation Tournament against top-seeded Southern Methodist on Wednesday at 6 p.m. PDT at Moody Coliseum in Dallas. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

SMU, guided by Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown, was the last team left out of the NCAA tournament. The Mustangs (23-9) are 15-1 at home, including a 9-1 mark at Moody Coliseum this season.

Irvine (23-11), regular-season champion of the Big West Conference, is making its fifth NIT appearance. The Anteaters are led by freshman guard Luke Nelson, who is averaging 11.7 points and has a team-high 37 steals. Junior forward Will Davis II averages 11.1 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds.

Washington State fires Bone

Washington State fired men's Coach Ken Bone after five seasons during which he was unable to sustain the success of his predecessor, Tony Bennett.

Bone was 80-86 in five seasons at Washington State and only 29-61 in the Pac-12. He failed to reach the NCAA tournament during his tenure, and was not able to sustain the success the program had under Bennett, who left after the 2008-09 season to take the top job at Virginia. Bone had taken Portland State to the NCAA tournament the two previous seasons, a goal he was never able to achieve with the Cougars.

Bone was in the fifth year of a seven-year contract. His buyout included the final two years of his contract worth the remaining $1.7 million.

Donahue out at BC

Steve Donahue was fired as coach at Boston College after four seasons without an NCAA tournament berth and two with the most losses in school history.

Donahue was let go with one year left on the five-year contract he signed to succeed Al Skinner, who led the Eagles to the NCAA tournament seven times in his 13 seasons.