AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The athletic director at Texas Tech said Thursday that men’s basketball coach Chris Beard has informed the school he is taking the job at Texas.
Beard made the decision early Thursday, according to Kirby Hocutt, the AD at Texas Tech. Texas has not announced the hire.
“Talked to him about 10:30 last night, made a final decision today. something I could tell had been weighing on him (last night), and settled this morning,” Hocutt said. “Frustrating? Absolutely. Disappointing? Absolutely.”
Beard led the Red Raiders to an NCAA Tournament runner-up finish two seasons ago. At Texas, he will replace Shaka Smart, who left after six seasons for Marquette after failing to lead the Longhorns past the first round of the tournament in three appearance.
Smart left Texas with two years left on a contract that was set to pay him more than $7 million.
Beard, 48, was a Longhorns student assistant under coach Tom Penders. He will be expected to produce consistent postseason success the Longhorns never achieved under Smart, who had led VCU to the Final Four in 2011 and was one of the hot names in coaching when Texas hired him.
Beard was 112-55 in five seasons with the Red Raiders. He was named The Associated Press coach of the year in 2019 as he guided Texas Tech to a 31-7 finish and lost to Virginia in the national championship game. The Red Raiders made it to the second round of this season’s tournament.
The Longhorns last made the Final Four in 2003 but made tournament appearances 16 times under Rick Barnes from 1999 to 2015 and reached the regional finals in 2006 and 2008. Texas hasn’t made it out of the first weekend of the tournament since then.
Texas entered this season’s tournament as a No. 3 seed with a veteran team, but lost in the first round to No. 14 Abilene Christian, which had been playing Division I basketball for less than a decade.
Beard’s coached one season at Arkansas-Little Rock, leading the program to a 30-5 finish and to the second round of the tournament in 2016.
He then accepted the head coaching job at UNLV, before leaving less a month later for Texas Tech, citing a desire to return to the program where he’d spent several years as an assistant under Bob Knight.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.