Bruce Pearl’s tears not just for show

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Bruce Pearl’s SEC exile is coming to an end. And not a moment too soon for the Tennessee coach. He told the Big Orange Tipoff Club this week that not coaching the Vols during games has been a tear-inducing experience.

“I can’t tell you that I haven’t cried every single time that bus pulls away,” Pearl said, as reported by the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Mike Strange.

Cynics note that Pearl’s tears have popped up during his apology press conference when it was first announced he violated NCAA rules and later when he spoke to Seth Davis about the impending 8-game SEC suspension.

But they surfaced again when talking to Vols boosters. This time referred mostly to thinking of his son, Steven. From Strange’s story:

Pearl said it was [women’s coach Pat] Summitt who pointed out that his son, Steven, deserved a slot in the Vols’ rotation:

“She said, ‘You’re not seeing what I’m seeing: He makes your team better … so you do the right thing.

“I said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ”

Two sentences later, Pearl halted, choked up.

“I can’t talk about him without getting emotional,” he said. “I love him so much.

“Gosh knows what he’s held to.”

Pause.

“That was unplanned. Sorry.”

The crowd applauded. Pearl wiped his eyes as he changed the subject from his son to the SEC race.

More ammo for cynics? Strange says no. Pearl simply wears his emotions on his sleeve and can choke up when talking about tough topics. When it comes to talking about one’s son, I’d buy a few tears.

Now I’m just trying to decide if there’ll be tears of joy if the Vols beat Kentucky on Tuesday in Pearl’s return.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.