Chris Beard, UT commit to growing men’s basketball into national powerhouse

Matthew Boncosky

Chris Beard made it abundantly clear in his introductory press conference Friday that he wants to win, and he wants to win now.

The new Texas men’s basketball head coach established that his expectation for the program is to compete for and win national championships sooner rather than later.

“Our philosophy is one thing — winning,” Beard said. “We’re gonna win, we’re gonna win the right way and we’re gonna win with urgency.”

Beard enters a program that has lacked its fan base’s desired success for the last decade. Tasked with the daunting challenge of living up to the high expectations of Texas fans and alumni, Beard said he is all in.

“Let me be really clear here. 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. “Those expectations and standards don’t scare me. Don’t get it twisted. It’s the reason that I’m here today.”

Beard has a track record of success to back up his lofty goals. The high-energy coach has won at each stop in his coaching career, sporting a .703 career win percentage and a National Championship game appearance with Texas Tech in 2019.

His newest expedition as the head coach of his alma mater is just his latest challenge.

“(I) won’t take this lightly. (I) won’t let anybody down here,” Beard said. “(I’m) just excited of the journey that lies ahead here for all of us.”

Being the head coach at Texas is a homecoming for Beard, who graduated from the University in 1995 and worked as a student assistant under then-head coach Tommy Penders.

Beard credited his time at Texas and the lessons he’s learned from various individuals throughout his career for the position he’s in today. In order for the program to become the powerhouse he wants it to become, Beard stressed the importance of having everyone from the athletes, coaches, students, fans and alumni all on the same page.

“We gotta unite the Texas basketball family,” Beard said. “When Texas basketball is united, it is powerful. It is the best, it is a beast, it can’t be stopped. We’ve got to embrace the past players and past coaches. We’ve got to get everybody back under the same umbrella, all striving for the same things.”

And Beard doesn’t want to sit around waiting for Texas’ new basketball arena to open in 2022 for that to happen. He wants to compete this year.

Texas’ roster currently features numerous upperclassmen and pro-level prospects that aren’t expected to return next season, leaving the new coach with plenty of work to do in building a competitive roster. Despite the imminent roster overhaul, Beard said he is ready to compete now.

“This will not be a rebuild,” Beard stressed. “This will not be a ‘first year doesn’t matter, put an asterisk on it.’ You can quote me on that.”

Time will tell if Beard can convince some of the current Longhorns to stay or bring in talented players via the transfer portal. But one thing is certain, he won’t lack the energy to make it happen.

“This program is a Monday night program, and we got some work to do to get there, but I’m not afraid to talk about it from day one,” Beard said. “That’s the game that we’re trying to get to. And everything that we do … will be about restoring us and getting us to the level where we can compete for national championships.”