The Tennessee Volunteers finally announced the dismissal of head basketball coach Bruce Pearl after much speculation that his performance on and off the court were holding the program back.

Pearl, 51, admitted in September to making illegal contact with recruits from a cookout he hosted for high school juniors, as well as misleading NCAA investigators.

Tennessee subsequently punished Pearl by cutting his salary by $1.5 million over five years, and terminated his contract. He was also banned from off-campus recruiting for a year.

The Southeastern Conference also hit Pearl with an eight-game suspension for conference play.

Then there was the issue of his team's results. In a lackluster second-half performance, the Volunteers lost to the Michigan Wolverines 75-45.

The writing appeared to be on the wall that Pearl would be fired, particularly from athletic director Mike Hamilton who inferred that it may take place last week.

Pearl led Tennessee to an unprecedented six straight NCAA tournament appearances in his tenure.