As Tennessee is about to get its day in the NCAA's version of court, new coach Cuonzo Martin has brought back a member of Bruce Pearl's staff to the team.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Volunteers have rehired Mark Pancratz as a video coordinator after he most recently served as the assistant to Bruce Pearl. Pancratz originally lost his job after Pearl was fired in March.
It's a hire that doesn't involve a big-time position, but Pancratz was once indeed one of the program's public faces given that he wrote a blog for the team that took fans inside the locker room and into the emotions of wins and losses.
Pancratz even kept writing for a short while after learning he would have to go look for a new job, vividly explaining what it was like to market himself as a former Tennessee staffer in Houston, site of the Final Four.
For starters, I rocked my University of Tennessee basketball shirts all weekend. As you would expect this got a lot of looks and questions. Comments such as "Why would you wear that, they just fired you?" or "You don't work there anymore" were continuously thrown my way. Comments such as those were exactly what I was going for as the "Power T" broke the ice and enabled me to explain my story to potential employers and colleagues. I am darn proud of all that we accomplished at Tennessee and have nothing to be ashamed of during my tenure there.
I finally landed a couple of interviews on Friday after a lot of time networking on Thursday and with the huge help of some great references. Surprise, surprise, I was nervous but confident. Nervous because I need to find a job for my family but confident because I was just going to be me.
Pancratz, who was not cited in any NCAA reports, becomes the second Pearl-era staffer to return to the team. Martin, who also retained Houston Fancher as a director of basketball operations, understands what Pearl accomplished even as he exited the program in disgrace.
That has meant some opportunities for Pearl's staffers who were not smeared by whatever violations were committed. For Pancratz, it meant no longer facing unemployment.
"I'm SO thankful for the opportunity to become a member of the UT Men's basketball staff!" he tweeted. "IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL!!!"