Why Auburn basketball’s trip to Israel is personal for Bruce Pearl

AUBURN — Bruce Pearl’s two favorite experiences as a basketball coach took place on opposite sides of the world.

There was his 2019 Final Four trip to Minneapolis with Auburn basketball. And one decade earlier, there was his voyage to Israel as coach of the US team at the 18th World Maccabiah Games, an international sporting event open to Jewish athletes and to all Israeli citizens regardless of their religion. Pearl, who at the time was coach at Tennessee, led the US to the gold medal against a defending champion Israeli team in Tel Aviv.

Pearl’s son, Steven, played on that 2009 team as am member of the Vols. Now Steven is an assistant coach at Auburn about to spend 10 days in Israel.

Pearl hopes this trip will be a “once in a lifetime” experience for his players.

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