basketball Edit

Pearl confident that he's part of Auburn's long-term hoops plan

Bruce Pearl said Monday that he expects the Tigers' coaching staff to remain fully in tact moving forward. (Jay G. Tate/

ALEXANDER CITY — Most of Bruce Pearl's assistants will see their employment contracts expire next week.

Still, the Auburn head coach isn't concerned.

Pearl said Monday at his annual golf fundraiser that he's confident "university leadership" wants Pearl and his staff to remain in control of the men's basketball program moving forward. Athletic director Allen Greene met with Pearl recently to as part of Pearl's annual review, which also included discussion of the program's short- and long-term future.

"Allen and I have had really good discussions," Pearl said. "We are talking about what the future’s going to look like. I would anticipate something coming down the road shortly. Obviously, both Dr. (Steven) Leath and Allen have come out publicly in support of us, of wanting us to come back, wanting us to be here for a long time. This is obviously what we want, too. We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished both on and off the court."

Contracts for assistant coaches Steven Pearl, Harris Adler and Chad Prewett are set to expire on May 31. Newly hired assistant Wes Flanagan just began a two-year deal.

Pearl is now four seasons into the six-year contract he signed when hired in 2014.

Auburn in March won the SEC's regular-season championship for the first time since 1999. That success, however, was overshadowed in some circles due to associate head coach Chuck Person's September arrest on federal charges of bribery and corruption. Subsequent investigations led by the NCAA, the SEC and the university itself haven't uncovered evidence of major malfeasance, which has led Leath and Greene to offer public support for Pearl during the past few months.

Are new contracts on the horizon? Pearl seems to think so.

"While I haven’t finalized a contract and things with the assistants have not been finalized, the discussions have all been really positive about the direction the university wants to go," Pearl said. "I would anticipate that getting done. The university has made a very strong commitment to me. Dr. Leath inherited a really difficult situation — not knowing me and not knowing what I’m all about. I feel very, very confident that the leadership of the university wants this coaching staff to be here for a long time."