Former Arkansas-Little Rock coach Chris Beard can now call himself the former UNLV coach, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN is reporting that Beard will leave the Runnin’ Rebels and instead succeed Tubby Smith at Texas Tech despite not even coaching a single game for UNLV.
Beard was hired by UNLV to succeed interim coach Todd Simon late last month, and was given a five-year deal that would have paid him $900,000 a year. The only drawback was that the university’s board of regents needed 11 days to make the deal official. The good news is that despite agreeing to the deal with UNLV, Beard was given clearance to interview with Texas Tech, a program at which he served as an assistant for a decade under Bob Knight and Pat Knight. On top of that, UNLV appears to be taking the news in stride.
“Coach Beard has informed me he intends to pursue the men’s basketball head coaching job at Texas Tech,” Kunzer-Murphy said in a statement. “This unprecedented move is extremely disappointing to the President and I, for our program and to our fans. Our search process allowed us to develop a deep pool of qualified candidates, from which we will select a great coach who really wants to be here and who will honor his commitments in leading the Runnin’ Rebels.”
Chris Beard became a household name this past season after leading Arkansas-Little Rock to a Sun Belt Championship and the second round of the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 30-5 (17-3 Sun Belt) record. The Trojans made the big dance for the first time since 2011 and set themselves up for a positive future.
Given how Texas Tech made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 under Smith last year, Red Raiders fans can look forward to more of the same under Beard and his aggressive style.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports