Pearl has the faithful in Evansville believing that the Eagles can win a second straight championship. To get that done, he'll need another outstanding season from forward Stan Gouard. Last season as a junior, "Superman" Stan was named Division II Player of the Year after averaging 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.
Pearl first saw the 6'6" Gouard play in June 1992, at a summer-league game in Champaign, of all places. Bruce told Kim that Gouard was the best player on the floor. Even better than the guy guarding him—Deon Thomas, then a junior at Illinois.
At one point Thomas turned to the baseline. Then he froze, his eyes fixed on Bruce and Kim, who were staring right back. "It was like a stupid children's contest," Kim says. "But he turned away first. When he did, I nudged Bruce and said, 'We won.' "
Pearl signed Gouard, and now the coach, at age 35, has a chance to improve upon his phenomenal lifetime record of 79-15.
Coaching suicide, Dickie V? Not on your life.