Pearl provides Auburn wisdom to Selma QB Club
Published 4:33 am Thursday, October 12, 2023
Auburn assistant basketball coach Steven Pearl was the guest speaker at the Selma Quarterback Club.
An audience at the George P. Evans Building heard Pearl, the son of Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl discuss the Tigers’ basketball program and the Loveliest Village on the Plains.
Pearl discussed the difference playing for his father and working alongside him. Pearl played at Tennessee when Bruce Pearl coached the Volunteers.
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Pearl was a four-year letterwinner for his father, Bruce Pearl, at Tennessee, playing in 101 games from 2007-11. He helped Tennessee to back-to-back SEC East Championships in 2008 and 2009. Pearl made the NCAA Tournament in all four years at Tennessee.
“It was harder playing for my father than coaching for him,” Pearl joked.
Pearl said that he always wanted a career in athletics after his collegiate career ended.
He was a medical sales representative for Stryker Corp for three years before joining the Auburn staff.
“I always had the itch to get back into athletics,” Pearl said.
Pearl said that the Tigers’ basketball program is in great shape under his father. Auburn reached the Final Four and won three SEC Championships over the last few years.
“The first three-four years were tough, but now we’re rolling,” Pearl said.
For Pearl, Auburn must do more than reach the NCAA Tournament .
“Getting to the NCAA Tournament is not enough,” Pearl said. “We love high expectations.”
Pearl discussed the 2023-24 season for Auburn, who opens against Baylor on Nov.. 7 in Sioux Falls, S.D. He said the Tigers were scheduled in South Dakota because a game with Gonzaga fell through.
“Our schedule’s a doozy,” Pearl said. “We’ve got Baylor, Oklahoma State, Southern Cal, Indiana and Notre Dame. Then we open SEC play att Arkansas on Jan. 6. The SEC is a crazy league.”
Pearl said Alabama is quickly becoming known for its quality of basketball.
“The state of Alabbama is in good hands with basketball,” Pearl said. “Auburn and Alabama have combined to win seven of the last 11 SEC regular-season and tournament titles. Andy Kennedy’s doing a great job at UAB. You’ve got Bucky McMillian at Samford and Richie Riley at South Alabama. They’re both turning things around.”
Pearl also praised the work of Auburn Athletic Director John Cohen, a former Mississippi State Athletic Director and baseball coach.
“John Cohen understands how the SEC works,’’ Pearl said. “He’s coached in the SEC.”