Chris Beard hired to replace Shaka Smart as men’s basketball head coach

Matthew Boncosky

Texas is hiring former Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard to replace Shaka Smart as head men’s basketball coach, according to numerous reports from Stadium, CBS Sports, and ESPN.

Beard will become the program’s 25th head coach after former head coach Shaka Smart left to become the new head coach at Marquette University.

A University of Texas alumnus, Beard is coming off a five year run at Texas Tech where he lifted the Red Raiders to national prominence and finished with a 112-55 record. He led Texas Tech to three NCAA tournament appearances and a trip to the national championship game in 2019.

Beard also earned national AP Coach of the Year honors in 2019 and sports two Big 12 Coach of the Year accolades.

Rumors of a potential departure from Texas Tech swirled in recent days, with today being of particular importance as Beard’s contract buyout dropped from $5 million to $4 million.

Beard’s $4.7 million annual salary at Texas Tech made him the fourth highest paid head coach in college basketball. No financial details about his new contract have been reported as of this morning, but it’s likely that Beard will earn north of that figure.

The poaching of Beard out of Lubbock suggests a major commitment from Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte to the men’s basketball program, with the new $388 million Moody Center and practice facilities set to open in April 2022.

Beard got his coaching start as a student assistant with the Longhorns in the 90s, before graduating in 1995 and landing several assistant coaching positions at the University of North Texas and Texas Tech.

He first coached at the Division I level in 2015 as a head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock.

A Texas Athletics spokesperson could not confirm the news as of this morning.