It is not often a man with 20 years of head coaching experience goes to visit a young coach in his early 30s who is at his first head coach job, but that is what happened when Bruce Pearl stopped in at UT-Chattanooga to visit one of his former assistants on Will Wade's first staff at UTC.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the LSU Tigers (19-4, 9-1 SEC) withstood a three-point barrag…
After being relived of his duties as Tennessee's head coach after six seasons in March of 2011, Pearl began working at ESPN in 2012, and soon after began to pay attention to UTC when Wade received the job and hired Pearl's former assistant Brooks Savage in 2013.
"I went and visited their practice to try and get better myself," said Pearl in the post-game press conference following LSU's 83-78 win over Auburn. "Will was like, 'You're Bruce Pearl, and you were at Tennessee, I'm Will Wade at Chattanooga. What are you doing here?'"
Pearl complimented Wade on his humbleness at the time but said he just wanted to see if he could learn something from a 30-year-old head coach, which is around the age Pearl was when he had his first head coaching job at Southern Indiana in 1992.
"I was just trying to get better, and I was witnessing a really good young coach," said Pearl, who spent a couple of days with the team.
Wade says he was happy Pearl visited one of his practices at UTC, calling Pearl "a great coach and a good guy," and Wade added Auburn is one of the teams he roots for in the conference.
"It was funny because we were going through the scout [against Auburn], and my assistants were going 'This is our inbounds play, and they run our this and our that, and I'm going, no, no, no. We run their stuff,'" Wade said. "A lot of our baselines out of bounds stuff is their stuff and some of the defensive things. He's a phenomenal coach. He recruits well to his style. They play so fast, and they play so hard."
"He puts guys in the right spots," Pearl said of Wade. "They've got good spacing. He understands the strengths and weaknesses his personnel, and he's able to adjust. He's got a great offensive mind, and I think that is a great separator."