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Could the Texas Longhorns Lure Chris Beard Away from Texas Tech?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Texas Tech at Arkansas

It’s the ‘nightmare scenario’ for Texas Tech basketball fans, the one job that Texas basketball fans believe Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard cannot turn down.

Shaka Smart appears poised to take the job at Marquette. It would avoid the potential for Smart to be fired after six solid, but not spectacular seasons, leading the Longhorns. Two 20-win seasons. One NIT title. Three NCAA Tournament appearances. No NCAA Tournament wins.

 

Smart, who is a native of Madison, Wisconsin, which is near Milwaukee, where Marquette is located, gives Smart a chance to go home. It also saves him and athletic director Chris Del Conte an uncomfortable conversation, one that, to be fair, they may have already had.

With Smart’s departure, Del Conte now needs a new men’s basketball coach, and using ‘Texas logic,’ there’s only one man for the job — Chris Beard.

Why? Well, because he went to Texas, of course. And ALL Texas exes want to come back to Austin, right? As SI.com’s Longhorn Country reported on Friday, decision-makers at Texas are in ‘active pursuit’ of the Red Raiders head coach.

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That’s the logic of the general fan, anyway. Just to review, Beard did go to Texas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1995, and he was a student manager for the Texas basketball team under Tom Penders.

Of course, Beard’ qualifications are FAR more impressive than student manager. He’s been a head coach in Divisions I, II, and II — heck, he even did a stint in juco — and he’s won everywhere he’s been. He’s turned Texas Tech into something it’s never been before — an actual national basketball power. The Red Raiders have won 112 games under Beard, shared a Big 12 regular-season crown, reached the NCAA Tournament three times and nearly won a national championship in 2019. He’s brought in two of Tech’s all-time best recruiting classes, and few coaches own the transfer market like he does.

It wouldn’t matter if Beard was a Texas ex or not. He would be a legitimate candidate for the job with that resume, whether he was at Texas Tech, still at Arkansas-Little Rock or remained at UNLV.

But the REAL question is whether Texas can actually lure Beard back to Austin.

 

I know, I know. You’re reading this and saying to yourself, ‘Dude, it’s Texas. Of course they can get him.’

Why Texas Could Have Trouble Landing Chris Beard

Consider the following:

Texas Tech is a better job right now. Beard has practically a full roster coming back next season. He has a brand-new practice facility right next to the arena. With Smart reportedly leaving Texas, three back-ups have already submitted to the transfer portal, Kai Jones has already declared for the NBA, and at least one other Longhorn could do the same. Will more leave in the wake of Smart’s departure? Texas is turning into a true rebuild.

Beard’s daughters live in the area. Alums have told me he greatly values being that close to his kids. Remember his other coaching stops after leaving he left Tech in 2011 were in McMurry, in Abilene, Texas, and Angelo State, in San Angelo, Texas. Both are also in West Texas.

 

As much as he might be a ‘Texas guy,” one could argue he’s a Tech guy, too. He spent a decade on the Tech bench under Bobby and Pat Knight. He has the kinds of ties locally that someone like Lon Kruger enjoyed in Norman.

And, it’s going to cost Texas. Sure, the Longhorns have all the money in the world when it comes to college athletics. But when Beard and the Red Raiders agreed to a new six-year contract after the program’s Final Four run, Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt was smart to toss in a dis-incentive for Texas, or any other Big 12 program, to pursue him. If Texas hired Beard, it would not only cost them the contract — and that deal is likely to be north of the $4.6 million average Beard is making in Lubbock right now — Texas would have to chip in $6 million in a lump sum payment to Texas to hire him away.

However, as reported by Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com, that ‘price’ will drop a bit next week.

Impossible? No.

But one could argue that there are more reasons for Beard to stay in Lubbock than for Beard to go to Austin and start over.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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