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Texas Tech is the best job in the Big 12

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While rumors will always fly that Beard is looking for greener pastures, the Big 12 can’t offer anything greener.

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Beard one of the most talked about names in college basketball right now. There is no question that his track record and current trajectory have placed him among the greats of our time. Accolades aside, the underlying reality to the success of Beard means every season Red Raider fans have to endure the rumors that Beard is being hunted by “bigger schools.” What is even more insufferable is the fan bases of those schools claiming they can get him if they want him. Spoiler alert: They can’t.

There are only a few jobs I believe Beard would entertain and that list includes some heavy-hitters. Let’s put Duke, UNC, Arizona, Kansas and Texas on it. Beard is paid too much with too much fan/administration/donor support to even think about the likes of Arkansas or UCLA. Tech would have an incredibly difficult time competing with basketball hotbeds like Duke or UNC, but luckily Coach K and Coach Williams seem well situated for the time being. Then there’s Arizona. To tell the truth I just am not that familiar with the Wildcat program, but time and time again sports pundits bring them into the conversation as a possible resting place for Beard. Arizona is 10-2 right now under Sean Miller and recruiting pretty well - I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS ONE.

Big 12’s sweetheart, Kansas, is in a similar situation as Duke and UNC. However, given Bill Self’s age (and NCAA probs) I could see him taking off for an NBA job. Next to Kansas the most persistent rumor is for the University of Texas. Out of the list this one holds the most credibility given the nature of Beard’s connection to the University and that Shaka Smart has failed to meet their unrealistic expectations. Oh, and money. They’ve got money - but we’ve learned that it’s not always about that.

In an interview with Stadium, Kirby Hocutt said stated very clearly amidst the concerns of Beard leaving Tech: “we have a better job.” Texas Tech, for a multitude of reasons, is not a place that others would say is the best job in the Big 12. Certainly not the majority within our own conference. Yet Lubbock has proven itself to be quite the basketball town: selling out a 15K+ venue to watch no-name mid-majors, having fans spend copious amounts of money to travel to wherever you play, having your every wish as a head coach answered... Texas Tech makes a serious case for itself. Currently the USA and the Phog are the toughest basketball venues in the Big 12 and probably rank within the top 10 nationally.

“But money!” Oh, yeah. On top of the absolute adoration of the city, it took Beard no persuading at all for the boosters to come together and dump $30 million into new practice facilities. The facilities, which are for both basketball programs, will be some of the highest caliber facilities in the nation; upping Tech’s stock in the recruiting game (as if Beard’s talent to launch athletes into the NBA wasn’t enough). The only other school on our list to enter into the discussion of new facilities is Texas - but where facilities may match the salary probably can’t.

Texas faithful will yell until they’re burnt orange in the face that they could buy Beard if they wanted to, but money-whipping Beard would not be easy. At $4.57 million dollars, Chris Beard is one the highest paid coaches in the nation. If, say, Beard decided to go to another school in Texas or in the Big 12 the buyout is $6 million through the 2020 season, and $5 million through the 2021 season. That’s just to buy out his Tech contract. Any Big 12 school like Texas would still have to pay him a salary higher than what Tech is putting up; so, what, drop $11 million just to get Coach Beard at your school? The numbers around the conference suggest other schools aren’t quite ready for that kind of ridiculous expenditure.

The only knock left on Tech left is that “nobody wants to go to Tech”/”can’t recruit to West Texas.” Come on. In a mere four years Beard has crushed, recycled, reclaimed, and crushed again that old crow’s saying. Just this season he brought a top ten talent in Nimari Burnett, supplanting Ramsey (in one year!) as the highest rated recruit in program history. It’s not easy to say he won’t continue that trend in recruiting classes to come, and soon enough I imagine we’ll hear the call that Texas Tech had a higher recruiting class than the blueblooded Jayhawks. All in good time.

Money, recruiting, hell... basketball aside, Beard is home. He made the comparison of his quick departure from UNLV to Bear Bryant’s departure from Texas A&M to Alabama, “when momma calls, you’ve gotta go home. Texas Tech is my momma and I’m home.” The man is West Texas through and through so even if all the other conditions are met you will find it’s hard to pull Beard from the LBK.