basketball Edit

Greene taking his time assessing Pearl's long-term future


DESTIN, Fla. — Bruce Pearl said last week he's confident that "university leadership" is enthusiastic about keeping the Tigers' coaching staff in place, but athletic director Allen Greene was careful with his words when asked about the program Wednesday.

"We want him to be our coach here," Greene said at the SEC Spring Meetings. "So long as he has done things the right way and we don’t learn anything more and he continues to do what he’s been doing, then we’re fine moving forward."

Pearl has two seasons remaining on the five-year deal he signed when hired in 2015. He's been working behind the scenes on a contract extension, but has put more emphasis on added security for his assistants and perhaps adding at least one new position to the staff.

New assistant coach Wes Flanagan agreed to a two-year deal when hired in April. However, current assistants Steven Pearl and Chad Prewitt have only hours remaining on their current deals; both expire Thursday night.

"We’ve had discussions internally so I don’t have concerns about that," Greene said of the expiring deals.

The 2017-18 season was one of highs and lows for the Auburn program. Assistant coach Chuck Person was indicted by the Department of Justice in September for bribery and corruption — charges that led to a pair of Auburn players, center Austin Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy, being ruled ineligible for the season. Person was fired in November.

The Tigers regrouped, however, and won the SEC's regular-season title for the first time since 1999. Auburn is expected to be a force next season as well with several key players returning and the suspended players aiming for reinstatement.

Greene said Wednesday that he's committed to keeping the program in position to win another title in 2019.

"We continue to talk about the program and the future of it with him at the helm and making sure that he has a staff that understands that we need to do things the right way at Auburn," Greene said. "We will do things the right way at Auburn and will be nationally competitive. We’ve only talked about the future and just helping make sure that we’re positioned to be competitive nationally and we certainly understand that consistency in coaching staff is really important."