Texas Tech won’t let UCLA take basketball coach Chris Beard easily

Texas Tech has no intention of losing basketball coach Chris Beard.

The 46-year-old led Tech to its first national championship appearance this year and has gotten the team to the Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons during his first three years with the program.

With that success, however, speculation is starting to fly that UCLA could shift its focus to hiring Beard as its next coach after failing to get TCU’s Jamie Dixon and Tennessee’s Rick Barnes. Speculate as one might, though, the Red Raiders have every intention of keeping their head coach.

“This is the position you want to be in,” Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt said on Monday after the Red Raiders’ 85-77 overtime loss to Virginia in the national championship game, via Yahoo Sports. “You have one of the top, if not the top coach in the country. He’s ours and we’re going to continue to do all we can to continue to make Lubbock the only home for him and his family.”

Beard is the quintessential coach for Lubbock, Texas. First of all, he’s from the state and knows how to recruit it. Second, he coached at the Division II level there. Third, he’s a little quirky. And fourth, he’s a lover of Whataburger. There’s no better fit for the West Texas town.

But, he’s also one of the hottest names on the coaching market as he took a roster full of two- and three-star players to a national championship game and was less than 20 seconds away from a title. Teams will be — and should be — interested in Beard.

For Hocutt and Tech, though, Beard is a sign of the new age in Lubbock. Since former athletics director Gerald Myers left the position in 2011, Red Raiders sports have seen a new rise to prominence never seen in the school’s history.

The baseball team has made two runs to the College World Series under head coach Tim Tadlock, who Hocutt brought to Lubbock in 2012 as an assistant and has been the head coach since 2013. Beard has had obvious success with the basketball team, but even before that Hocutt brought in Tubby Smith, who led the Red Raiders back to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 after failing to make it to the event from 2008-2015. Hocutt also hopes new hire Matt Wells will bring the football team back to national prominence as well.

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The Red Raiders have good things going and Beard is one of them. He has the full support of Hocutt and the entire fanbase and the athletics director is hoping that will be enough to keep Beard.

“Our fan support is second to no one in this country,” he said. “We’re going to continue to invest in the program and in coach Beard. Ultimately, it’ll be his decision. But I think we have a better job (than UCLA) and we have the resources to continue to invest in him at the highest levels.”

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