John Calipari will not be the head coach at Kentucky forever. The 61-year-old is under contract through 2029, but there’s no telling whether or not he will continue coaching into his 70’s. 

One of the great debates among the Kentucky faithful is who will become head coach when Calipari decides to hang it up. Some names that come to mind are Texas Tech’s Chris Beard and former Florida head coach Billy Donovan. Another is Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl

Saturday, Pearl sure sounded as if he was making his case to fill that void one day. 

 Following his teams’ 73-66 loss to the Wildcats Saturday night, Pearl took plenty of time to compliment Kentucky’s play. 

“I really like Kentucky’s team. I really like their coach. They did an amazing job, Pearl said. “They are very undervalued.” 

Pearl went onto say that he will be a Kentucky fan whenever his team doesn’t play against them. “I’ll tell you right now, if we don’t play them again I am rooting for them. I am rooting for them to go a long way.” 

These statements may have been the simple case of being kind to a conference foe and friend in Calipari, but Pearl’s next statement sure made it sound as if he had an emotional connection to UK Basketball. 

When asked about attending a reunion for his 1995 Southern Indiana national championship team, Pearl got choked up speaking about Kentucky Basketball’s impact in the area.

“I have been so blessed to coach a lot of basketball in the state of Kentucky.” Pearl said with a tear in his eye. “I was the head coach at Southern Indiana for nine years, right down the road in Evansville, Indiana. All Kentucky’s games were on every night in Evansville on the Evansville stations. It’s a big home of Kentucky basketball.” 

On top of spending time watching Kentucky Basketball in nearby Evansville, Indiana, Pearl has coached plenty against Kentucky. He has spent over a decade in the SEC at both Tennessee and Auburn coaching a total of 22 games against the Cats.

With familiarity with the Commonwealth, Pearl truly understands the Big Blue Nation and the passion that makes them unique. In response he has displayed deep admiration for that passion and the tradition of Kentucky Basketball.

Thus it sure seems that the 59-year-old would welcome the idea of becoming the head coach in Lexington if the opportunity ever opportunity ever emerged.

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