D-League team interested in Pearl

The Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League are interested in former University of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to fill the team’s vacant head coaching position, Yahoo! Sports reported Friday.

According to the report, Red Claws general manager Jon Jennings confirmed his interest in Pearl.

Pearl, 51, had a successful run coaching the Volunteers for the past six years, going to the NCAA Tournament every year and reaching the Elite Eight in 2010.

But his run in Knoxville ended in nightmarish fashion after he lied to NCAA investigators during an inquiry into recruiting violations. He was suspended by the SEC for the first eight league games in 2011, and Tennessee fired him shortly after a blowout loss to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA has not yet decided whether to impose restrictions on Pearl’s possible return as coach of another school.

The Red Claws, affiliated with the Celtics and Bobcats, are viewed as one of the D-League’s best-run franchises, having sold out 48 consecutive games in two years of existence.