Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl: ‘We’re going to get through this together’

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl: ‘We’re going to get through this together’
Bruce Pearl, Auburn's head men's basketball coach, urges students and fans to follow experts' advice if they want to get life back to normal as quickly as possible. (James Boofer/AU Athletics)

Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl during a Facebook Live session on March 25 urged Tiger fans to do all in their power to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Pearl’s team was ranked in the Top 25 throughout the 2019-20 season as the team set an Auburn record for senior-class wins at 99, but the Tigers were knocked out of the SEC and NCAA tournaments by quarantines brought by COVID-19.

Pearl challenged Auburn University students who also had their on-campus spring semester cut short to lead by embracing the challenges ahead. He encouraged everyone to follow the guidelines for hand-washing and social distancing.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl gives doughnuts and bagels out to students in January, before the COVID-19 coronavirus brought social distancing. Pearl now has advice for those students. (Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

“We need to do our part by keeping our distance, by paying attention, by staying at home,” he said. “Let’s do what we’re told. Let’s play by the rules. Let’s understand that the more we play by these rules now, the sooner we’re going to get back to what we know as to be normal. We’re going to get through this together.”

Pearl encouraged people to reach out to loved ones, friends and neighbors during the pandemic. He asked for special consideration for people on the front lines.

“They go to work every day putting their lives on the line to save others. What an incredible ministry. … Right now, you can’t give them a hug, because we’ve got to keep our distance,” Pearl said. “Say thank you. Next time I see a doctor or a nurse in their gown at a breakfast place, I’m buying them breakfast.”

In his online talk titled “Human Resilience in Troubling Times: Stories from Coaching and Life,” Pearl shared how coronavirus affected his team, costing the Tigers an opportunity to defend their 2019 SEC Tournament championship and potentially return to the NCAA Final Four. Auburn was the only team from Alabama expected to be in the NCAA tournament this season.

“We’re fine,” he said. “Life’s different right now. I miss my players. I don’t know if they miss me, but I miss them because we were around each other all day, every day. I feel especially bad for the seniors because this team really embraced making history and making their own history.”

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