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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Despite Pearl firing, Oakland-Tennessee still on the table

After friend Bruce Pearl was fired Monday, Oakland coach Greg Kampe said the deal to play Tennessee was still valid. If the Volunteers want out, they would have to buy themselves out of the contract, for what Kampe estimated was $50,000. Otherwise, the Vols are expected in the O'rena this season and the Grizzlies will again travel to Knoxville the following season.
Kampe hadn't spoken to Pearl as of Monday night, but said he wasn't surprised by the firing following last week's announced "wait-and-see" approach to the Pearl situation by the program's athletic director. The Vols lost by 30 to Michigan in Friday's NCAA tournament second-round game.
“I thought, for the most part, he was going to survive it,” Kampe said.
“I never thought he was out of the woods, because you never know what the NCAA is going to do. I feel bad for him. That’s a good coach. He’s done a lot of good things in his coaching career. He made a mistake that I’m sure now he vastly regrets."
The two became friends during their Division II days, when Pearl was at Southern Indiana.
Another Kampe friend, Tennessee associate coach Tony Jones, was instrumental in establishing the three-year deal between the schools last summer.
In other coaching news, IUPUI's Ron Hunter left for Georgia State, a move applauded by Kampe.
“I’m really happy for him,” Kampe said. “His salary got tripled and he got what he wanted. He’s very excited and I’m very pleased for him.”
It was revealed by CNBC sports analyst Darren Rovell prior to Friday's game against Texas, Kampe's salary is in the neighborhood of $170,000. He just finished his 27th year as Oakland's head coach and some have wondered how and why he's maintained such longevity.
“If someone offered me millions and millions of dollars, I’d probably look at it," Kampe said. "Nobody has called me," he quickly asserted.
“When I put my key in today (Monday), I was just happy it worked.”


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