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Thank you, Chris Beard

We have every reason to be upset, but we still owe Coach Beard our gratitude for elevating this program to new heights.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Texas Tech at Arkansas Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech fans have every right to be upset.

It’s not often the greatest coach in program history leaves to take the job at your biggest rival school. But this is a unique circumstance with Beard having graduated from Texas and always having an affinity for Austin.

The way I see it, we have two routes we can take at this point:

  1. Relentlessly roast Beard for doing the worst possible thing he could do
  2. Take the high road and thank him for leading the program to incredible heights

Personally, I’ll go for option two - at least until he starts badmouthing Texas Tech. Then I might have a change of heart.

Beard led Tech to the Elite Eight, the national championship game and a second-round appearance the last three full seasons, excluding the canceled tournament last year. He recruited a different level of talent, from four-stars Davide Moretti, Jahmi’us Ramsey, Terrence Shannon and Micah Peavy to underlooked three-stars like Tyreek Smith, Kevin McCullar and Kyler Edwards. He also proved to be an elite recruiter of high-end transfers, plucking the top two players out of the portal in Mac McClung and Marcus Santos-Silva last year.

Then you add the raised fan engagement and arena atmosphere. When I was a student at Tech back in 2012-2014, no one - and I mean no one - went to the games. You could hear a pen drop in the gym. After Beard raised this program from the depths, the United Supermarkets Arena became one of the loudest places to play in all of college basketball.

And we can’t forget about his continual push to improve the facilities. The Dustin R. Womble Basketball Center does not happen without Beard’s involvement or success on the court. That will have a lasting impact on recruiting well beyond Beard’s departure.

Beard’s personality resonated with West Texas. He was a champion of Lubbock spirit. He was the perfect fit for Texas Tech basketball and always treated the university, the fans, the players and the city with utmost respect.

Because of Beard, Texas Tech is a better basketball program than it was before he arrived. It’s now a more attractive destination for recruits, but also a better job for any coaches looking to make a move. There’s no reason to expect Red Raider basketball to immediately nosedive after this news.

For all you’ve done to make Texas Tech a better place, and for all the success you’ve led our program to, we express our deepest gratitude.

Thank you, Coach Chris Beard.