Last night was kind of sad, no doubt about it. Coach Beard obviously cares about all of these guys and this program in general. But now we get to think to ourselves, where does this put Chris Beard all-time on the Texas Tech men’s coaches list? I’ve thought this out, here are the candidates to be the best.
Bob Knight: 2001-2008
Knight led this team out of the dark ages of Texas Tech basketball, one where wins were few and far between after great seasons in the mid-1990s. The team had four straight losing seasons where they couldn’t get anything going. Knight was hired in 2001 and almost immediately turned around the program. He led them to four straight postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 1 NIT).
Knight took a team lead by Ronald Ross and Jarrius Jackson to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the mid-1990s. He then gave the reins of the program over to his son in mid-season 2008 to his son Pat Knight, bringing one of the better runs in Texas Tech basketball history to an end. Knight finished his Texas Tech career with 138 wins and just over 900 for his career.
Gerald Myers: 1971-1991
Myers took this team from below average and built a program that had some good teams and Southwest Conference Championships in both 1973 and 1985. With three more Southwest Conference Tournament Championships as well. Myers also led this team to one Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1976.
Myers coached many of the legends in Texas Tech history including Rick Bullock and Bubba Jennings. He tapered off a bit at the end of his coaching career, but that only led him to his position as Athletic Director, which he held for many years. He finished with 326 games over his 20 seasons as head coach for the Red Raiders.
Polk Robinson: 1942-1946, 1946-1961
Robinson began coaching in the 1940s and coached this program to many successful seasons including the program’s first NCAA Tournament win and Sweet Sixteen appearance. He coached legends such as Jim Reed and Del Ray Mounts.
Robinson had 248 wins in his time as Texas Tech Head Coach. He won 3 Border Conference and 1 Southwestern Conference Championships during his tenure. He has been remembered as one of the best coaches in Texas Tech history.
James Dickey: 1991-2001
Coach Dickey led this program to new heights in the 1990s with great players such as Tony Battie and Cory Carr playing under him. He led this team to a 28-1 season and a Sweet Sixteen berth in 1996 highlighted with Tony Battie being selected No. 5 in the 1996 NBA Draft.
Dickey had 164 wins in his tenure as coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He led the team to two Southwest Conference Championships and one additional Southwest Conference Tournament wins.
All of these coaches were great in their own right but were any of them as great as Beard has been in just three seasons? Of course, most of them have more wins than Beard but Beard has more tournament wins than all of them combined.
In just three seasons, it’s safe to say that Beard has surpassed all of these contenders for the best of the best in Texas Tech history, not only from his tournament success, but his consistency to win the big game. Coach Beard has brought this program to not only Conference prominence, but National prominence as well.
Time will tell if Beard will be able to come close to what Marsha Sharp was able to do for the Women’s Program. In my opinion, he lacks a bunch of wins and a Championship to match Sharp’s contribution, but he could get there if he continues the path he is on now.