The University of Texas men's basketball program, a high-placed source told LonghornsCountry.com a week ago, was focused on Texas Tech coach Chris Beard to replace Shaka Smart.
Now the Longhorns have their man in Beard, a former UT student assistant and a wildly successful coach at Texas Tech.
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But who were the "almosts''? A UT source tells us those two names: Oregon's Dana Altman and Arkansas' Eric Musselman.
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"Yes,'' Vitale writes back to LonghornsCountry.com, "Texas has put together multiple ... skilled talents and will have a big-time year under new leader Chris Beard.''
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One of the top names in the coaching industry at the moment, Altman took the Oregon Ducks on a great run through the tournament to the Sweet 16, where his team eventually fell to conference rival USC. Altman has been with Oregon since the 2010-11 season, and has led the Ducks to the NCAA tournament in eight out of his 10 seasons. Altman had the Ducks at 24-7 last season, before the NCAA tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Altman also spent 16 years at Creighton, where he took the Bluejays to the tournament seven times. He has a 690–352 mark, and has been successful at every stop.
A fast riser over the last few seasons, Musselman has led Arkansas to two 20-win seasons in his first two seasons and has the No. 3 seed Razorbacks moving into the Sweet 16 to face Oral Roberts. He has extensive experience at both the college and the NBA level as well, making him an ideal candidate for the job.
Another coach with NBA experience (as a player and an assistant) is former Longhorns star defender Royal Ivey. UT did visit with him, and considers him not only part of the family (as Beard is) but also a coach with a talented future.
But, a UT source tells us, "When was the last time we hired a head coach with no prior experience in any major sport? I can tell you: Pretty much never.''
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