"Money,'' a high-placed University of Texas source tells us just the ink is drying on the school's new contract with coach Chris Beard to leave Texas Tech to take over Longhorns men's basketball,'' ain't an issue.''
That matters in a trio of notable areas.
1) While Texas officials waited to talk to Beard until April 1, when his contract buyout for Red Raiders' foes among Big 12 schools dropped from $5 million to $4 million, that was not a driving force in the timing. As LonghornsCountry.com reported a week ago, Beard, 48, was "actively pursued'' immediately following the parting of ways with former coach Shaka Smart.
2) Beard, once a student assistant under Tom Penders in the early 1990s, was making more than $4 million annually at Tech. That number figures to be exceeded in Austin.
3) Maybe most fascinatingly, the usual "totem pole'' of coach salaries is immaterial to UT, a source tells us. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte just engineered the high-profile hiring of football coach Steve Sarkisian. Now comes the Beard hiring.
Does the football coach (with a contract that pays him $34 million over six years) necessarily need to make more than the basketball coach?
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"Money ain't an issue,'' the source said, adding that the school essentially expects Sarkisian to succeed in football - and then to receive an upgraded deal as a reward.
READ MORE: Beard Is Hired By Longhorns - What He Brings
Beard's roots in Austin are deep. But so were the roots he developed in Lubbock, where he was a 10-year assistant and then as the head coach pushed the Red Raiders in the 2018 Elite Eight and the 2019 national title game. UT, though, was focused on winning over the coach with a five-year record at Tech of 112-55 and a 7-2 mark in head-to-head games against Smart.
And yes, that "focus'' was in part about coming revenue at UT and about a desire to move up in the world of college hoops.
"If we want to play big-boy basketball,'' one source told LonghornsCountry.com, "we are going to have to pay the price.''
Even if that means making the basketball coach, just like the football coach, one of the highest-salaried teachers in college sports.