Expectation and Urgency: Chris Beard to Bring Both to Texas Longhorns

Chris Beard now hopes to bring a winning factor to the Longhorns permanently.
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The first step in any hire is to make sure the candidate fits the culture. The second is to check the resume and qualifications. 

Chris Beard, an alum of Texas, fits both. Not only did he call Austin home, but he's also been to the ultimate place the Longhorns hope to end up. 

Now, he'll call Austin home again. 

Beard was introduced Friday as Texas' next head basketball coach, replacing Shaka Smart, who left for Marquette. Donning a burnt orange and white tie, the look was welcomed despite his tenure across the state with Texas Tech. 

Now, he must live up to the expectations the school believes they can reach around the rim. 

"I understand the standards of the University of Texas. I understand where our men's basketball program is going to be and needs to be and deserves to be," Beard said Friday during his introductory press conference. 

READ MORE: What's New Longhorns Coach Chris Beard's History On The Recruiting Trail?

The standards on the Forty Acres are simple. Win now and win often. Smart, who was hired to replace Rick Barnes in 2015, won plenty during the six years as the Longhorns' front-man. 

Therein lies the second part: often. 

Texas only made three NCAA Tournaments during his time. They still are looking for their first tournament victory since 2014. 

Despite picking up the Big 12 title for the first time in program history, the Longhorns were eliminated by Abilene Christian, a No. 14 seed, in the Round of 64. 

Yes, Texas will have a new commander calling the shots. No, Beard will not accept a fall year in his first season on staff. 

"This will not be a rebuild," Beard said. "This will not be a first-year-doesn't-matter, put an asterisk on it..That's not how we roll. We're gonna win, we're gonna win the right way and we're going to win with urgency." 

Urgency, you say? Alright, start the clock. 

Beard leaves the Red Raiders after five seasons rebuilding the program. Texas Tech was eliminated last month in a close loss to Arkansas in the Round of 32. Two years prior, they were the runner-up to Virginia in the 2019 national championship game. 

READ MORE: New Texas Coach Beard 'Thrilled and Excited' to Join Longhorns

Finishing his time in Lubbock with a 112-55 record, Beard was going to be a hot commodity on the market. Yet, with three tournament appearances, including a pair of Elite Eight bouts, the right job would have to come calling. 

On Wednesday, it did. By Thursday, it became official. 

Beard is back, and hopefully, so is Texas. 

“I knew what we were getting in a human being, someone who cares deeply about people,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "He's an incredible basketball coach, but a better person." 

The Longhorns killed two birds with one stone on Thursday. Not only will they have a proven winner leading the team (252-103 all-time record), but they lessen the playing field in the Lone Star State by taking away a rival coach. 

Texas needed Beard, not just for the culture, but also to join the ranks of other state programs in achieving greatness on the court. 

On Saturday, two schools from the state lines will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Baylor heads to the Final Four for the first time since 1950. 

Houston, under, Kelvin Sampson will look to make history of their own, returning to semi-finals for the first time since 1984 during the Phi Slama Jama days when Clyde Drexler was delivering alley-oops to Hakeem Olajuwon. 

The Red Raiders are two years and nine points removed from a national title. 

Texas A&M is hopeful Buzz Williams is the answer in College Station. 

READ MORE: Shaka Shade?: Ex-Texas Coach Pokes Longhorns In Marquette Presser

All and all? Texas is thriving as a state in basketball. Del Conte and the Longhorns needed to join that ranks by any means necessary.

"I sat there for about 20 minutes in a seat by myself just going 'we got it right, we got it right,'" Del Conte said of the hire. 

Beard believes the Longhorns are a "Monday night" program. Just like the Red Raiders, his goal is to make sure they head to the championship game under his regime. At the very least? A trip to the Final Four, which would be Texas' first since 2004.

The job will not be easy. Seniors Matt Coleman and Jericho Sims will be leaving for the NBA Draft. Sophomore forward Kai Jones declared for the draft last month. Who knows if anyone else will be leaving. 

Beard doesn't care. Neither will the boosters. 

Expectations to win have reached a new high after Smart and the Longhorns cut down the nets in Kansas City, Mo. last month. If anything like his time in Lubbock fans best "Beardlieve" in the new head coach. 

"Those expectations and standards don't scare me," Beard said. "Don't get it twisted, it's the reason that I'm here."

CONTINUE READING: 'Eyes of Texas' Controversy: Longhorns Coach Sark Reveals Thoughts


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