Bruce Pearl apologizes to Jimmy Collins

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Bruce Pearl may have finally buried the hatchet with Jimmy Collins after 23 years.

In 1989, when Pearl was an assistant with Iowa and Collins an assistant with Illinois, Pearl gave the NCAA a tape recording of Collins offering recruit Deon Thomas $80,000 and a Chevy Blazer in exchange for his commitment. As you might imagine, Collins held a pretty serious grudge against Pearl and wasn’t afraid to speak out when his name came up in the media.

But according to Pearl, that may all be water under the bridge now.

“I saw Jimmy just before dinner about 7 p.m. on Friday; I put my hand out, and he shook it,” Pearl, the former Tennessee men’s basketball coach, told Go Vols Xtra. “I told him I’m really sorry about what we all went through, and that Deon Thomas was a victim and there were a lot of victims. My apology was it was unfortunate it happened, and it hurt people, ultimately, including me.”

Collins spoke with ESPN Chicago, and it looks like this feud is finally over.

“I let it go,” Collins said. “There’s nothing I can do with what happened then. I’m not going around with a lot of hate in my heart. I’m not going to hold a grudge all your life.”

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.