The key to replacing Chris Beard is finding someone with a similar background. Tech won’t - and shouldn’t - go after someone at a mediocre Power-5 program. It’s important to get someone who knows the state of Texas well and has won at every level he’s coached, just like Beard did.
That’s the formula I’ve used to determine these potential replacements for Chris Beard:
1. Grant McCasland, North Texas head coach
This is the guy. He’s had a very similar trajectory as Beard, winning at JuCo, Division II and Division I levels. He went 55-12 at Midwestern State in the toughest Division II conference in the country. He went 20-12 at Arkansas State and then strung together four great seasons at North Texas. He turned Umoja Gibson into an elite Division I basketball player and had he not transferred to Oklahoma, might have led the Mean Green as far as the Sweet 16 this year.
McCasland is Beard 2.0, and might even be a better coach. The only concern I have is, if Scott Drew takes the Arizona job, McCasland might hold out for the Baylor job (his alma mater). If Tech offers McCasland the job and he doesn’t immediately accept, we can infer that the Baylor job will soon be open.
2. Joe Golding, Abilene Christian head coach
Golding started at ACU 10 seasons ago and led the Wildcats from Division II irrelevance to Southland Conference dominance in Division I. In the last three seasons, Golding is 71-23 at ACU with two tournament appearances and one tournament win as a 14-seed over No. 3-seeded Texas. He knows the state intimately well, has West Texas ties and seems like someone who’d be loyal to Tech for the remainder of his career.
3. Paul Mills, Oral Roberts head coach
Mills was an assistant at Baylor for what seems like an eternity before taking over at Oral Roberts in 2017. Another guy who knows Texas, Mills led Oral Roberts from an 11-21 record in his first season to an 18-11 record this year including a Sweet 16 appearance as a 15-seed. He made history and he did it by finding diamonds in the Texas rough like Max Abmas, a two-star guard out of Dallas Jesuit that no one had interest in recruiting. That kind of eye for talent, along with an incredible basketball IQ and friendly personality, is what makes Mills a great candidate to coach at Tech.
4. Chris Ogden, UT-Arlington head coach
Ogden doesn’t have a sparkling record at UTA, but he does obviously have Tech ties after coaching as an assistant in Lubbock from 2016-2018. He knows the area well and knows what it takes to recruit players to Tech. I’m hearing he might re-join Chris Beard’s staff at Texas, however, so this may be a non-starter.
5. Rodney Terry, UTEP head coach
Terry was an assistant at Texas for nearly a decade before he became head coach at Fresno State. He took over at UTEP in 2018 and has experienced some success, hovering around .500 his last two seasons. He has recruited well at UTEP, however, and obviously recruited well when he was at Texas in the early 2000s. He’d be a great fit at Tech, but there’s also word Beard might target him for associate head coach at Texas.