Bruce Pearl, the new head basketball coach at Auburn, told an awesome story at the Auburn Basketball Letterman reunion a few days ago that packed quite the punch, a recent article in ESPN points out.
While the head coach at Tennessee seven years ago, Pearl received a voice mail from one of the best players (if not the best) in Auburn basketball history, the one and only Charles Barkley. It's a message that he has saved to this day.
"Don't get me emotional about this, but the truth of the matter is he called our basketball office one day," Pearl at the letterwinner reunion. "He says, 'Coach Pearl, this is Charles Barkley, you do not need to call me back. I've just been watching your teams play and I love the way you coach and I love the way your teams play.'"
In the hyper-competitive business that is coaching, it's good to have a morale booster when times get trying.
"I have it on an old cellphone. Believe me, there are times when we get down on ourselves and lose confidence in what we do and I've listened to that message a time or two. I had never met him, I didn't call him back because he said don't call me back, but I kept that message. I absolutely still have it today."
And now, of course, the story has gone full circle, as Pearl is now the head coach of Barkley's alma mater, the Auburn Tigers.