Pearl heaps praise on Mark Fox, Georgia (and then stops)

nashville 002

How long can Georgia play this week on Broadway (the one in Nashville, not Manhattan)?

NASHVILLE — Hello. Haven’t visited the Ernest Tubb Record Shop or the lights of Broadway yet  — actually it’s still daylight — but I made it to the arena in time to catch the end of Bruce Pearl’s news conference. When it was over, I asked the Tennessee coach off-stage about Georgia and coach Mark Fox. Not surprisingly, his response was complimentary.

“He’s done a great job, and they’ve beaten some really good teams,” Pearl said. “They played great obviously in Athens [when the Bulldogs upset then eighth-ranked Tennessee, 78-63, in January]. They knocked on the door on the road. But I think what that indicated to me was, it’s almost like SEC football. Where do you go? Where do you turn? Where can you go to get a relatively easy game?

“Mark Fox did not come here to finish sixth in the SEC East. And he did a great job. He finished sixth — and he did a great job. That’s how tough it is.”

Pearl was guarded — in an amusing way –  in a follow-up question when asked about what he believes is the potential of the Georgia basketball program.

Response: “Georgia’s a great university. It’s a great school. It’s a real competitive  program.”

After a pause and laughter, he added:  “What do I say? ‘Yeah! If I was a recruit, I’d go there!’”

OK. Understood.

The four teams with first-round byes in the SEC tournament — Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Mississippi — are not holding news conferences today. Fox and a couple of players will be up on stage a little bit later. Tim Tucker and I will be posting thereafter, so check back. And if you have any questions, I’m here.

Previous posts

About Arkansas, and did Calipari get jobbed for SEC coach of the year?

How big a threat is Georgia in this tournament?

Who’s more likely to win a conference tournament game, Tech or Georgia?

Flashback: Georgia upsets Tennessee

Flashback: Mark Fox’s early reality check as coach

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on

38 comments Add your comment

Bob Didier caught here

March 10th, 2010
4:12 pm

first and second

Bob Didier caught here

March 10th, 2010
4:13 pm

Jeff, I really believe in my heart of hearts that the puppies have a chance to win their first game against the hogs…….what say you?

come on man

March 10th, 2010
4:24 pm

Nashville is a great town! The DAWGS are going to be a solid gold outcome….. Go DAWGS


March 10th, 2010
4:32 pm

4th and go Dawgs


March 10th, 2010
4:33 pm

At this point I would gladly swap basketball coaches with UGA. Fox has done an outstanding job. Good luck DAWGS.

Jeff Schultz

March 10th, 2010
4:40 pm

Bob Didier — There’s no question Dogs have a chance to at least beat Arkansas. Razorbacks dropped their last five games and played in the weaker SEC division (West may not get a team in the tournament).

Jeff Schultz

March 10th, 2010
4:40 pm

Asheville — Fourth-and-go-Dawgs. Cute.

Jeff Schultz

March 10th, 2010
4:41 pm

AGTFan — Safe to say one team has overacheived and other has underachieved.


March 10th, 2010
4:42 pm

is it still a improvement this season if they lose in the first round , I would say so. but year two and three will tell the tale
Have fun on Broadway


March 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

and as always
GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!


March 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

Pearl is a great coach and a great interview. He has brought excitement and wins to Tennessee as well as filling their stands with 20,000 at each game. Hopefully Coach Fox can create some excitement at Georgia. We finished 6th again in the East but at least we were competitive.

atlanta vol

March 10th, 2010
4:45 pm

Jeff, the media seems to love to interview Pearl. What is your take on him. I know I love him as the Vols coach. Go Vols!

[...] ♦ Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Mark Fox [...]

Lebron Jordan Erving Malone, prospect

March 10th, 2010
4:50 pm

I love Georgia and I’m going there!


March 10th, 2010
4:54 pm

Good luck to the Bulldogs in the SEC tournament. You guys have a fine coach…enjoy it. Unfortunately, ours Blewitt.

Jeff Schultz

March 10th, 2010
4:56 pm

SouthGaDawg — My opinion is losing in first round of tournament is not a step back but winning is a step forward. It all goes back to pre-season expectations.

Jeff Schultz

March 10th, 2010
4:57 pm

Atlanta Vol — It’s simple. He’s good copy. He also happens to be a terrific coach. Is there some BS to him? Absolutely. But to the point of me (or most media members) wanting to avoid him.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

March 10th, 2010
4:58 pm

Go to TOOTSIE’S! Enjoy the scenery! Can I get a hello….!!!! The barmaid the seperates the floor, the last time I was in there was one of the prettiest women I have ever laid eyes on (all three at the time Jeff)! Enjoy!

Herschel Talker

March 10th, 2010
5:10 pm

Mark Fox > Paul Hewitt


March 10th, 2010
5:16 pm

Fox has done a suprisingly good job. They gave Wofford, already an NCAA Tournament entrant, all they could handle in the lovely confines of Stegeman Audotorium before losing narrowly.

Michael Scharff

March 10th, 2010
5:28 pm

Jeff, I am concerned about one thing currently and one that has a HUGE impact on the future of UGA basketball.
The current concern is actually two-fold – we move around a lot on defense, but yet somehow, the best teams in the SEC still find a way to dump the ball off to their big men in the paint or have their speedy guards slash through our coverage and score in the paint. Then, on offense, I still think we have the propensity for long stretches to just stand around and not run plays (not to mention our pitiful passing skills).
As for the future…
I really like Coach Fox, but I worry greatly about our ability to recruot the best players from Georgia. It’s a Catch 22 – you need to have a winning program to recruit, but you can’t keep a winning program without consistently snagging the best players in your own state.


March 10th, 2010
5:35 pm

They lost embarassingly to LSU!! That may have been a road game but it was to a pathetically terrible team. Say whatever you will but we (students, alumni, fans) really do not care about collegiate basketball except that it is a team at UGA. We care the same for basketball as we do gymnastics, softball, and tennis. We pull for the team but really do not overly care. We have a world class gymnastics program! But who really cares? Football rules the roost in Athens and absolutely NOTHING will ever come close.

But Fox has done an admirable job at home.


March 10th, 2010
5:49 pm

While in Nashville, check out these restaurants:
Dee’s Q – great fried catfish sandwiches
Aronld’s Country Kitchen – cannot be beat. Great atmosphere. Do not miss.
Marche Artisan Foods – good breakfast – somewhat trendy
La Crema – Great lattes
Southern Bred – great meat and three

todd grantham

March 10th, 2010
6:12 pm

Jeffery, that’s an interesting observation. I didn’t think sportswriters would consider anyone so full of bs that they would dodge him.

Tigers Wood

March 10th, 2010
6:15 pm

Agree UGAdawg except for gymnastics. They pack the place to see that garbage


March 10th, 2010
6:30 pm

Wow! That is the highest compliment for anything to do with UGA that has ever come out of Tennessee.

Ted Striker

March 10th, 2010
6:38 pm

Good interview with Pearl. If you run into Ashley Judd, tell her I said hello and that I understand why she married that guy. He’s just more faithful than me.

TN Dawg

March 10th, 2010
6:42 pm

Jack’s (in the pic) is the best place in town for BBQ. Jeff, you should try Demos’ on the corner of Commerce & Third.

[...] ♦ Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Dogs, Fox (and then quickly stops) [...]

Gen Neyland

March 10th, 2010
10:25 pm

When I was being raised a Tennessean living in Nashville, Skeeter Davis’ parents lived next door to us. I had the pleasure of meeting Skeeter one day because I had to pull my ol’ mutt dog off her Pekingese. I apologized and Ms Davis smiled and said, “Don’t think a thing of it. Dogs will be dogs.”…

As far as CPB goes, he knows UGA is a threat. Playing on a neutral floor means we all have a shot. Kinda like pulling a mutt dawg off a Pekingese pureblood…

Larry Flynt

March 11th, 2010
9:05 am

Bruce Pearl is a bigger sleaze bucket than me!! He only heaps praise on UGA to garner more sympathy from the selection committee, since he lost in Athens. His next job will be selling used cars in Tupelo MS.

Please buy my magazine!!!


March 11th, 2010
1:08 pm

Anyone named Larry Flynt shouldn’t be taling about sleaze. Pearl is a great coach and sells the TN program non-stop. Hell, he could even rivive that dismal GA program…maybe even fill up that barn.

[...] ♦ Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Dogs, Fox (and then quickly stops) [...]

Ron Burgandy

March 11th, 2010
2:41 pm

Did he not comment on how the AJC writers are idiots? I love how the ajc thinks UGAY is relevant to the rest of college sports. I am suprised he knew who Fox was! Great record, especially on the road!

Beat Kentucky in something and we will talk!

[...] ♦ Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Dogs, Fox (and then quickly stops) [...]

Dawg Trainer

March 12th, 2010
10:15 am

Bow your heads (or kneel) when you speak of a fellow Dawg Trainer such as Bruce Pearl. Be grateful that he spoke magnamiously of you curs.


March 12th, 2010
10:42 am

The question is – WILL Fox bring in one or two strong recruits for next year? The kind that would make UGA good enough to make the NCAA tourney next year? UGA will lose Leslie and Thompkins after next year it seems, so momentum must be built this coming year if Fox is going to stick around at UGA and make them an SEC power. Close losses only build momentum for one year.

[...] ♦ Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Dogs, Fox (and then quickly stops) [...]