Let me preface this article by saying I can’t stand premature contract extensions. I wasn’t pleased when Texas Tech offered Kliff Kingsbury an extension after just one year when he hadn’t really proved anything yet.
This is different.
Chris Beard is arguably the second-best coach in the Big 12 Conference, and he just beat the league’s best coach in his own house.
Bill Self said in his postgame press conference, Tech might be the best team Kansas has played all year—a bold statement considering the Jayhawks have played No. 7 Kentucky, No. 16 Arizona State, Syracuse and Texas.
This was no lucky stroke of good fortune nor a case where Tech was throwing up prayers from three-point land and converting, while Kansas had a historically bad shooting night.
No, Tech was the better team.
They took Kansas’ best effort. Devonte’ Graham was playing like a Naismith candidate, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was draining three-pointers, and Udoka Azubuike was causing problems down low.
But Tech was just better, and that comes from coaching. For those who watched the game on TV, how many times did the announcers reference Tech’s pregame and how well prepared the team was?
Even former Tech standout Toddrick Gotcher noticed the difference in game planning.
Just left Texas Tech Basketball practice before they head to play Kansas! They are very prepared! Can’t wait to watch!— Toddrick Gotcher #0 (@Leagueme_0) January 1, 2018
See, Chris Beard received a Harvard level of instruction from his time as an assistant coach. He learned from Bob Knight, one of the top-10 greatest basketball minds in the game’s history and he studied his tendencies for years.
He took Arkansas-Little Rock to a 30-5 record and an NCAA Tournament bid, where naturally, he upset the No. 5 seed Purdue Boilermakers.
Let that sink in. Arkanas-Little Rock winning 30 games and beating basketball power Purdue in the tournament. We’ve got gold here, Tech fans.
That’s why I’m not only OK with the idea of offering Beard an extension, I’m imploring the university to do so because we’re just a few months away from an all-out assault for Tech’s most prized coach.
Shaka Smart is the most overrated basketball coach in the country. Slowly, Texas is realizing that. He inherited a winning culture at VCU from Anthony Grant and Jeff Capel and rode that success and hype all the way to a dream job at the University of Texas.
Smart posted an abhorrent 31-35 record during his first two years at Texas, irrationally citing “youth and inexperience” as the reason for his team’s poor performances. Meanwhile, teams that start between three and five true freshmen like Kentucky continue to win 30 or more games each season, so I’m not sure why everyone has so readily accepted that excuse.
In any case, it’s more than likely Texas will underachieve again this year in a brutal Big 12 Conference. They can’t seem to put the ball in the basket, despite pulling in elite recruits Mohamed Bamba and Matt Coleman.
If the Longhorns fail to make it at least to the Sweet Sixteen, I don’t envision a scenario where new athletic director Chris Del Conte doesn’t kick Smart to the side and pluck the brilliant Chris Beard from Tech’s grasping hands.
Keep in mind, Red Raider faithful, Beard is a Longhorn. He graduated from and coached as a graduate assistant at Texas before bouncing around the state and igniting his own head coaching career.
I’ve seen talk on social media about how Beard is right at home and will never leave Lubbock. Let’s be real, folks. Wishful thinking has never done anything for us. Let’s get proactive and write him a blank check now, before Texas does in the summer.
Do you really want to leave this to chance?