AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas formally introduced Chris Beard as its next men’s basketball coach at a news conference Friday.
Texas is looking to Beard to lead the program to new highs after an impressive five-year run at Texas Tech.
Mostly Texas brought Beard to campus to win and win big.
“Those expectations don’t scare me,” Beard said at his introductory press conference Friday morning.
The Longhorns are welcoming Beard back to Austin after a winding, but massively successful career in coaching. Beard’s 25-year journey in the industry all started at the University of Texas.
The 48-year-old began as a student assistant under former Texas coach Tom Penders in the ’90s. He graduated from Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in 1995.
From there, Beard’s coached at just about every level of basketball. Beard’s led junior college programs, Division II schools — he even had a one-year stop as a head coach in the American Basketball Association.
The predominant takeaway from every bullet point on Beard’s resume’ — he left the program as a winner.
“This program is a Monday night program. We’ve got some work to do to get there,” Beard said. “I don’t coach for me. I coach to win. I want our players to win.”
Beard often talks about being a “Monday night program.” The NCAA national championship game is always played on a Monday night. That’s where Beard wants Texas to be. The expectations for himself and Texas couldn’t be higher.
In 12 seasons as a head coach, Beard’s never had a losing season. The culmination of his success came at Texas Tech in 2019, taking the Red Raiders to within seconds of a national championship. Tech ultimately lost to Virginia in overtime, settling for national runner-up.
Beard’s 2018-19 Red Raiders team was a unique collection of homegrown talent and transfers that meshed perfectly together. Texas is banking on Beard’s ability to recruit the best and take Texas to a championship.
“It starts in the recruiting process. We’re going to recruit the best players in the world. We’re not messing around. It’s why I’m here,” Beard said.
Recruiting is rarely a challenge for Texas with the Nike brand behind it and powerful former players like Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge and TJ Ford. The Longhorns brand normally speaks for itself. Beard will have every advantage in recruiting and he’ll have to develop those players into champions.
Texas Tech didn’t want to let him go. Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt said Thursday that the school had previously tossed around the idea of a lifetime contract for the basketball coach.
Ultimately, the opportunity to build a championship team back at his alma mater in Austin struck the right note with Beard.
“I’m thrilled and excited to be coming back to Austin and back to the Longhorn family,” Beard said in a statement Thursday. “I can’t express how excited I am for this opportunity and the journey that lies ahead. I want to thank President Hartzell and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte for their trust. It’s time to get to work. Our top priority will be embracing our players as soon as we get to campus, and I look forward to starting this journey together towards our championship goals.”
Former NBA lottery pick and Longhorns legend TJ Ford is putting his support behind Texas’ next coach. He posted a photo to Twitter Thursday, welcoming the new head coach to campus.
Ford was the team leader when Texas reached the 2003 Final Four. He’s banking on Beard delivering another deep tournament run in the future.