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Pearl a hit at FMS

Though a college coach, Bruce Pearl told middle school administrators and teachers he could relate to their problems and challenges.

“I agreed to come because I’m a father of four, and like you I’m a teacher,” said Pearl, men’s head basketball coach at The University of Tennessee, as featured speaker at the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools Drive-In Conference at Farragut Middle School Saturday, Oct. 13. “I don’t miss a parent-teacher conference ... because I have to be able to say, ‘thank you.’ My most precious assets in my life are my children.”

Pearl jokingly said that in order to best get advice on dealing with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, “you don’t need a coach you need a psychiatrist.” Big laughs.

“The success of my job is based on the decisions of these 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids, so in some ways I feel your pain and know what you’re going through.”

Pearl spoke on the challenges he faced in his early days at UT attempting to develop confidence and a winning attitude. And the pressure of making that happen as a coach — or in the classroom.

“The children can have a bad day or two — we can’t. Because if we have a bad day, they’re all going to have a bad day,” he said. “You’ve got to bring the passion, you’ve got to bring the rigor every single day. It’s exhausting, but they deserve it.”

Pearl begins his third season as Vols skipper this fall with a team generally considered one of the nations’s 10 best.

“I can’t worry about the end result, all I can do is focus on the process,” Pearl said. “I think that’s what we’re doing as teachers, worrying about the process.”


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