New Texas Coach Beard 'Thrilled and Excited' to Join Longhorns

The University of Texas officially announced the hiring of new head coach Chris Beard on Thursday afternoon.
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The Texas Longhorns officially announced the hiring of their new head men's basketball coach Chris Beard on Thursday afternoon, making him the 25th head coach in the history of the program. 

The former Texas graduate and assistant coach now makes his way back to Austin after four seasons at the helm of the Longhorns arch-rival Texas Tech Red Raiders, who, under Beard's leadership, had won seven of the previous nine meetings between the two teams. 

"I'm thrilled and excited to be coming back to Austin and back to the Longhorn family," Beard said. "I can't express how excited I am for this opportunity and the journey that lies ahead. I want to thank President Hartzell and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte for their trust. It's time to get to work. Our top priority will be embracing our players as soon as we get to campus, and I look forward to starting this journey together towards our championship goals."

The 48-year-old will begin that journey in earnest, with the Longhorns are coming off of yet another disappointing season under former head coach Shaka Smart, who failed to win a single NCAA Tournament game in his six seasons at the helm. 

READ MORE: Source: Texas Longhorns ‘Invited’ Shaka Smart To Leave For Marquette

Beard's recent resume, on the other hand, is quite different, as he leaves a Red Raiders program that he helped turn into one of the premier programs in all of college basketball, going 112-55 overall in five seasons.

Beard also and help Tech win a regular-season Big 12 championship in 2019, and reach three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including Elite Eight birth in 2018, and a National Championship game appearance in 2019.

It was a job that helped put Beard on the map as a top-tier head coach, and one that he will always cherish as his career continues. 

"It's been a whirlwind of a day," Beard added. "It's a difficult and emotional day in a lot of ways as I leave Texas Tech, a place where I'm very appreciative of not only my five years as a head coach but also my 10 years as an assistant. I owe so much to Texas Tech University. From the players and their families to the administration, students, alumni, season-ticket holders, and the entire Red Raider Nation, we were able to build something incredibly special and unique. We took the program to new heights TOGETHER resulting in a Big 12 Championship, a berth on Monday night in the National Championship Game, an Elite Eight appearance, and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history. I am truly thankful for all the people of West Texas and their incredible support. Thank you, you have provided memories that will last a lifetime."

Once the Texas job became available, and as sources immediately informed, decision-makers at the university immediately began put the full-court press on making beard their next head coach. 

READ MORE: Smart Shade?: Former Texas HC Quips At Longhorns During Marquette Presser

And while there were indeed other potential candidates, and even an interview of former Texas standout player Royal Ivey, Beard was always the clear and obvious choice to the Longhorns brass.

"When we began discussing potential candidates to lead our Men's Basketball program, Chris Beard's name kept coming up," said Chris Del Conte, UT Vice President, and Athletics Director. "He's a highly-regarded coach and also a person who is so well thought of in his profession and beyond, and in our talks with him and those who know him well, we came away extremely impressed. We've all seen what he's done in building Texas Tech into a national force, recognize his wealth of knowledge and experience, and his track record at every place he's been is extraordinary. His success is well documented, and he's a Longhorn at heart who cut his teeth in the business as a student assistant coach under Tom Penders. He's family and loves The University of Texas."

Beard now inherits a program that is in desperate straights, and has not won an NCAA Tournament game since the 2013-14 season under Rick Barnes and has not advanced past the second round since their last regular-season conference championship title in the 2007-2008 season.

That will be a tall task, however, with the Longhorns' roster set to be affected by massive turnover following the exits of Sophomore Kai Jones to the NBA, as well as seniors Jericho Sims, Matt Coleman, and Royce Hamm. 

READ MORE: Former Longhorn Chris Ogden Joining Chris Beard in Austin

There is also the impending loss of freshman phenom Greg Brown, who is also projected as a first-round selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. 

Suffice it to say, Beard is entering the program at a critical time in regards to its future. 

"Chris Beard is the right coach at the right time, not just for our student-athletes, but for all of Longhorn Nation," said Jay Hartzell, UT President. "Many in our community have followed his impressive career since his time here as a student assistant, and we couldn't be more excited to have one of our own return home as an accomplished coach and leader, with the experience to help us reach new heights."

Beard will be formally introduced as the program's new CEO during a press conference at the university on Friday morning. 

After that, he will begin his journey to resurrect the Longhorns, and attempt to return them to their previous level of prestige both nationally, and within the Big 12 conference.

CONTINUE READING: Longhorns 'Money Ain't An Issue' With Coach Beard Vs. Sark Salaries - Source

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