Sean Blevins headshot

I don’t want to overreact, but Texas Tech may now be a basketball powerhouse with the success they are having.

The Red Raiders struck gold with coach Chris Beard and his tournament record speaks for itself. He is a disciple of former Indiana HC Bob Knight and you can see the resemblance in their coaching styles. I think Beard is well on his way to establishing Texas Tech as a perennial title contender as he as already made it to the Elite Eight or further the past two seasons.

Beard continues to somehow exceed his goals year after year and that is what has led me to believe he is the next legendary coach. He started his Division 1 career at Arkansas-Little Rock in 2015, where he led it in a 30-5 record and an upset of fifth-seeded Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament during his first and only season as their head coach. After that season he accepted a job from UNLV in March, then less than a month later he left for Texas Tech as the job became open due to HC Tubby Smith leaving for Memphis.

He has been nothing short of amazing everywhere he has gone. Beard has said to the media that he considers himself an underdog even though he may have built the next true powerhouse in a sport dominated by traditional blue bloods. This year might have been a sign of Kansas and HC Bill Self passing the torch over to Chris Beard as the Jayhawks streak of 14 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles finally came to an end.

It takes a special coach to end that run of dominance − one that knows what it takes to dethrone dynasties − and I think Chris Beard has shown us that he can hang with the best of the best.

Beard has transformed Texas Tech into a defensive juggernaut as they were the top ranked defensive team this year and fourth last year, according to the KenPom.com rankings. He also elevated Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver to new heights as they both went from unheralded recruits to talented NBA prospects. 

Beard signed a six year extension in March 2018 and he has already overachieved his expectations to the point where he deserves to be one of the highest paid coaches in the NCAA or he could leave for a bigger school if he is not offered a significant raise.

Beard is arguably a top-10 coach in this sport and he has already done something that every coach wishes they had, he has defeated several of his coveted idols in the tournament just four years into his career. Texas Tech is here to stay.

Sean Blevins is a columnist. Contact him at sblevin4@kent.edu.

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