Shrug off that heartbreaking loss to Abilene Christian Longhorns fans… because Chris Beard is here to save the day.
Texas announced this week that they have named former Texas Tech head coach, Chris Beard, as the new coach of the Longhorns. An in-state and in-conference rivalry has just gotten stronger with Beard returning home to UT.
Beard, a UT alumnus, puts on the Longhorn Orange once again after five seasons as the Red Raiders head coach. Shaka Smart left Texas to take the head coaching position over at Marquette, but he was most likely going to be fired anyway.
Many fans envisioned him getting fired last season until COVID-19 cut the season short. But Smart looked like he was making one last push this season to keep his job as the Longhorns took off with an 11-2 record to start the year.
Well, it seems I was a jinx for Smart and the Longhorns. After writing about that hot start, the Longhorns looked terrible the rest of the way and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Nevertheless, Beard is here, and he is here to save the day. His defensive-minded identity is something the Longhorns desperately need. They blew way too many leads this season which cost them winnable games. Their 64th-ranked Defensive Efficiency rating this season highlights that.
Beard’s Resume and Identity
Embed from Getty Images
Beard brings over a resume that fans already know about due to his team being in the Big 12 Conference. He and the Red Raiders went 112-55 in his five seasons as coach. They made the NCAA Tournament three times, and of course made it all the way to the Championship game in 2019, but lost to Virginia in overtime.
Beard and Texas Tech made it all the way to the finals as a #3 seed in 2019, and Beard won AP Coach of the Year as well as Big 12 Coach of the Year. The Red Raiders went 31-7, and had the #1 Defensive Efficiency rating in the country.
That kind of run is something Longhorns fans have been deprived of for almost a decade. Texas made the NCAA Tournament three times in Smart’s six seasons as coach, but won zero tournament games.
That can’t happen!
Defense is what Beard is all about. When he first took over as Texas Tech’s head coach in 2016, they finished ranked 111th in Defensive Efficiency. The next four years: 7th , 1st, 13th, and 19th, respectively.
Clearly, once Beard builds the team the way he wants to, the team can be a solid defensive unit. That is the identity he will bring over to Texas, and that is really exciting.
Beard brings a new attitude to the program. The Texas job was arguably the most-coveted in the country, and Texas went with a former alumnus. The personal connection is definitely there. The Longhorns were one of the more athletic teams in college basketball last year, but just never found a consistent rhythm when it mattered most.
That will change with Beard.
Here’s what Coach Chris Beard had to say about leaving Texas Tech for Texas: pic.twitter.com/C0fvfHHA4f
— Jakob Brandenburg (@Jakob_CBS7) April 1, 2021
It is worth noting that this is now the second significant hiring Texas has made in the last few months. The football team brought in Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to transform the football program and he is already drawing in top recruits.
And of course, now Beard is returning to his alma mater to coach the Longhorns basketball team. I’m really excited about the direction both of these programs are headed. College sports are better when the Longhorns are good, and the future is pointing towards that.
Beard is one of the most passionate coaches in the game. He is full of heart, energy and is never afraid to make his point known to the officials.
Just like Sarkisian, fans should hope Beard’s resume draws in more top recruits. Next season, the Texas Longhorns basketball program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2015 is within reach.
Keep Your Horns Up!
Lifelong sports fan fulfilling a childhood dream. I’ll talk sports all day. Passion and hot takes are my thing… there’s always a story. Yankees. NY Giants. Knicks. Texas Longhorns. Yes… being a Knicks fan is rough, but my time will come (hopefully). Senior at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.