Auburn’s Bruce Pearl tells his players not to worry about report he could be fired

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl isn’t sweating his job status, at least not publicly, in the wake of a recent report suggesting his job could be in jeopardy if he refuses to cooperate with an ongoing investigation into his basketball program.

According to, Pearl recently told his players not to worry about the reports of his potential ouster.

“I said, ‘Guys, don’t worry about it. This is just going through the process,'” Pearl said.

In the wake of an FBI probe that determined 10 people in and around the sport were committing acts of bribery and corruption, Pearl’s own assistant coach, Chuck Person, was included among them. Person has since been indicted and is facing six federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes and gratuities, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and travel act conspiracy. He is no longer an employee with the school.

Also, Auburn placed two staff members on administrative leave on Monday. Jordan VerHulst and Frankie Sullivan are on leave “until further notice based upon the University’s ongoing investigation into the men’s basketball program,” the school announced in a statement.

VerHulst is in his first season as special assistant to the head coach after three seasons as Auburn’s video coordinator. Sullivan, who played for the Tigers from 2009-13, is in his first season as AU’s video coordinator after two seasons as a graduate manager at AU. 

Following the FBI’s findings becoming public knowledge, Auburn officials also hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation into the men’s basketball program, which Pearl has reportedly been unwilling to participate in. And while Pearl wasn’t implicated in the case, his refusal to cooperate, according to ESPN, could lead to his potential ouster. A decision regarding his future at the helm of the program could reportedly be determined within the next week or two.

In the meantime, Auburn continues to hold out Danjel Purifoy and its best player, Austin Wiley, in an attempt to “avoid any potential eligibility issues.” Pearl told ESPN that Auburn is involved in an ongoing investigation to certify the eligibility of the players, but at this time both remain out indefinitely.

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