New job, new career for Bruce Pearl

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Bruce Pearl has a new gig. The former Volunteer men's basketball head coach will join H.T. Hackney Co. as Vice-President, Marketing on Thursday, the Knoxville-based company announced.

“I worked for 33 years – my entire coaching career – to get to a place like Knoxville," Pearl said. “This is where my family lives, this is home. We have made life-long friends here and we are very blessed to have this opportunity.”

For those questioning if the former coach can make it in the business world, H.T. Hackney pointed out he was a Marketing and Economics major at the Boston College School of Management.

Chairman and CEO Bill Samson said Pearl will bring freshness, enthusiasm, and a strategic vision to the company. “I’ve known Bruce Pearl for years – his leadership, competitiveness and understanding of marketing is a great fit for our organization,” Samson added.

Pearl posted a 145-61 (65-31 in the SEC) in six years as the Volunteers head coach, leading the team to its first No. 1 ranking in its history. He was fired in March 2011 amid an NCAA investigation, which resulted in a three year show-cause penalty last week.

Forbes magazine ranked H.T. Hackney as the 82nd largest privately-held company in the country, with annual revenues of nearly four billion dollars.

According to company figures, the food wholesaler, founded in 1891, delivers more than 25,000 items such as frozen foods, health and beauty items, and deli products in addition to other services.

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