Mar 18, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers new head basketball coach Bruce Pearl addresses fans after his arrival at the Auburn University Regional Airport on Tuesday. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Today On Rocky Top: Pearl Not Surprised At Martin's Departure

From The Times Free Press

The timing of Cuonzo Martin’s move to California this week — two weeks after it appeared he would remain Tennessee’s basketball coach — came as a surprise.

Martin’s decision to leave the Volunteers, though, wasn’t as much of a surprise to some folks, including Tennessee predecessor Bruce Pearl, who was hired at Auburn last month.

“I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t,” Pearl said in an interview with Athlon Sports published Friday. “Cuonzo didn’t seem to be happy there. I know they talked about the fact that he had to overcome following me, and I understand that we had success, but they still had 18,000 people come to every single game. Overcome that or not, they got great support in Knoxville, great facilities, great university.

“The embracing needs to work both ways, so I’m happy for Coach Martin. He maintained a level of success that we worked really hard to create. I’m grateful to Coach Martin as a former Tennessee head basketball coach, and a Vol for life. I’m grateful for the job he did because he kept it going.


From The UT Daily Beacon

Despite spotting the Crimson Tide eight runs and producing just one hit through five innings, Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano opted for the positive, honing in on the ending rather than the start.

However, the Volunteer late-inning rally ultimately proved unsuccessful as Alabama emerged with an 8-5 series-opening victory Friday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

“A Friday night loss continues to sting, but I’m proud of our team,” Serrano said. “That might confuse some people, but gosh darn it we’re going up against a pretty good Friday guy. We’re down 8-0, and we could’ve easily folded the tents, but our guys had different thoughts in mind.”

Nevertheless, the loss — UT’s third in four games — drops the Vols (24-11, 6-10 SEC) to 13th place overall in the conference — meaning if the SEC Tournament started today, Serrano’s squad would not be making the trek south to Hoover, Ala.

Trailing 8-0 heading into the sixth, the UT lumber was nonexistent, falling victim to Alabama starter Spencer Turnbull (5-2) in convincing fashion.

The Vols hadn’t had a base knock since Will Maddox’s single in the third and had put only one runner past second base the entire evening.


From Go Vols Xtra

Arkansas is the on-course leader and LSU is the clubhouse leader following a rainy opening day Friday of the SEC women’s golf championship at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover, Ala.

Tennessee, on the other hand, is back in 13th at 26-over 314. The Lady Vols stand a stroke behind Kentucky and Ole Miss and seven ahead of last-place Mississippi State.

An approximately four-hour rain delay on Friday morning pushed back the start of play, and action was halted shortly after 8 p.m. Friday due to darkness. Groups from Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina have between one and five holes to complete Saturday morning.

Chessey Thomas finished as the individual leader among the Lady Vols. She’s tied for 14th after shooting a 2-over 74. No other Lady Vol finished the first round among the top 30.

Hannah Pietila is tied for 38th at 78. Mason Chen and Lucia Polo are tied for 53rd at 81. Daeun Song is 68th at 83.

Arkansas was at six-over 220 when play was suspended on Friday. LSU shot a seven-over 295. Auburn, which also concluded its round, recorded a 296, while Vanderbilt shot a 298.

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