Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams’ dream of leading his alma mater became a reality on Tuesday night, as Adams was officially introduced as the Red Raiders’ new head basketball coach.
His first official act was to thank Red Raider fans, with a crack and a tremble in his voice.
“I would not be here as the men’s head basketball coach without you and I appreciate that,” Adams said.
Of course, everyone in Lubbock knows Adams already. The Texas Tech alum served on the Red Raiders’ bench for five years under former head coach Chris Beard, who is now at Texas. He became the associate head coach two years ago.
So, if Texas was ‘end game’ for Beard, who is a Texas graduated and who led the Red Raiders to the 2019 national championship game, then Texas Tech is certainly ‘end game’ for Adams, who graduated from Texas Tech in 1979.
And just like five years ago, fans and alumni poured into United Supermarkets Arena and ‘welcomed’ Adams with the same thunderous applause they welcomed Beard with.
“This is probably the best day of my life,” Adams said, and then after apologizing to his wife and two children, followed that with, “in recent years.”
Adams was the only member of the speakers on Tuesday that thanked Beard at the podium. Adams’ thank you was greeted with boos, but Adams cut through them to thank his former boss.
“I wouldn’t be here without coach Beard,” Adams said. “He gave me an opportunity to coach with him. He was a leader and he’s done a lot for Tech and he’s a friend of mine. He gave me an opportunity and I get to be head coach here and it’s because of him.”
Hocutt said the search to replace Chris Beard would take two weeks. It look less than one, as the committee went inward to elevate Adams, who became a popular choice almost the second Beard resigned to go to Texas.
“We are an emerging giant in the college basketball world and we are not going anywhere,” Hocutt said. “Coach Adams’ experience, pride and commitment to this program and university make him the ideal leader to continue our journey to get back to Monday night of the NCAA Tournament Championship.”
Adams is a coaching lifer, in the best sense of the word. While he has been on the bench at Texas Tech the past five seasons, Adams brings plenty of head-coaching experience to the table as he takes over in Lubbock. He has 554 career wins as a head coach. It’s just that none of those wins have come at a ‘big-time’ program.
But when you look at his career, he has succeeded everywhere he’s been. He led Howard College to a 2010 NJCAA national championship. He held the head-coaching job at Clarendon College. He then returned home and held head-coaching jobs at several schools in West Texas —Wayland Baptist, West Texas A&M, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and Howard College. He is thought of so highly at Wayland Baptist that he’s in the school’s Hall of Fame. He’s also in the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
Adams is a native of Brownfield, Texas, a town of less than 10,000 about 40 minutes away from Lubbock. The fit, to Adams and to the school’s administration, is perfect.
“It’s a great opportunity that I’ve looked forward to my whole life,” Adams said. “To lead this program is a great honor. I just want to make a difference and make everyone proud. We are going to do everything we can to win big and compete every day. To be the head coach of this program has been a dream of mine my entire life.”
Adams returned to the school as Tech’s Director of Basketball Operations for the two seasons prior to Beard’s arrival, and then moved to the bench when Beard took over. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2019, and he’s considered the architect of Tech’s hallmark defense.
Hocutt’s decision already appears to be making a difference.
From the time Adams’ hiring was announced, several Red Raider made it clear they were ecstatic with the decision.
Forward Terrence Shannon Jr. extended his congratulations right away.
Forward Kevin McCullar, who, on Twitter had cryptically written that “Well, decisions to be made …” after Beard left, made it clear on Monday that he wasn’t going anywhere.
The hiring may have also led one Red Raider to change his thinking about transferring away. Kyler Edwards was one of five Red Raiders to submit their name to the transfer portal after Beard moved on to Texas. On Monday, he tweeted this:
Among the players at the introductory press conference was Marcus Santos-Silva, who also submitted his name to the transfer portal last week.
“We have a great nucleus back, and these guys all want to be back,” Adams said.
If Edwards and Santos-Silva do return, or if any of the other players who submitted their names to the transfer portal return, Adams will probably be the biggest reason why.
And the best part is it doesn’t look like Adams has any ambition to go anywhere anytime soon.
“I love West Texas, and I love Texas Tech.” Adams said. “This is home, and I get to stay home.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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