April 9, 2019

The best story to come out of March Madness this year – maybe the best sports story of the year in any sport – didn’t involve the thrill of victory. 


Saturday, Auburn University suffered a heartbreaking loss to Virginia and missed out on a shot at the national title.  The defeat may have hinged on officials missing a potential double dribble penalty by Virginia, which led to Auburn losing by one point.  We’ve all seen coaches react to losses of important games due to a bad call.  We brace for tantrums, screaming, cursing, flying chairs and legal challenges to the official outcome.  But that's not Auburn coach Bruce Pearl’s style.


His response: There’s human error involved in the game.  Kids and coaches make mistakes, and “yes, officials will make mistakes. That's part of the game. Get over it."


Pearl went on to tell ESPN, "Sometimes they're going to go your way, sometimes they're not going to go your way. Are we going to give God less glory because we lost and...only because we win? Stop. Grow up, this is part of the game. These kids taught us, I think, in many, many ways how to handle defeat. And that's a difficult thing to do for these young kids. And I'm proud of them.”


Those kids should also be proud of their coach for teaching them a number of life lessons more valuable than a national championship trophy.  With so many pro athletes and coaches seeming to care only about winning and not setting a good example anymore, they should look to this college coach for a refresher course in what maturity, humility, sportsmanship and grace in the face of adversity really look like.

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Comments 1-6 of 6

  • Virginia Howell

    04/13/2019 03:49 PM

    Thanks Gov for noticing our basketball team and their poise after a loss. We are extremely proud of our team and our coach. We are pleased that he has taught basketball skills as well as Christ like skills.

  • Frank Lively

    04/10/2019 07:05 PM

    Thank you, Governor Huckabee, for recognizing the dignity of the Auburn team and coach. It is some consolation just to know that Virginia beat Texas Tech by one point. The way I see it is that Auburn except for a 'no call,' beat Virginia. There was a lot of weeping on the plains that night, but they are proud of their team and the leadership of their coach. WDE.

  • Larry Ethridge

    04/10/2019 10:06 AM


  • Virginia Zeigler

    04/09/2019 06:46 PM

    Auburn University has a Creed. We repeat it often. Videos are made of the Creed. Coach Pearl emulates that Creed. It goes, "I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work. I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully. I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men. I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities. I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all. I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all. I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly
    with my God." And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
    -George Petrie (1943)
    War Eagle

  • Michelle Zerbel

    04/09/2019 04:58 PM

    Thank you Mr Huckabee, for seeing what Auburn loves about Coach Pearl! A man who learned lessons in life and grew to became a great influence to young men, who will in turn influence more people than just a team! Character shows in defeat often more than in glory! Proud to be part of the huge and growing Auburn Family!

  • Beth Newman

    04/09/2019 04:11 PM

    Thank you, Gov. Huckabee, for your kind words about Auburn. As a graduate of Auburn I am extremely proud of the way our coaches handled a very difficult situation.