Beard continues to be vocal about community engagement, championship aspirations

Nick Pannes, Sports Reporter

Chris Beard is the new face in town.  That initial novelty comes with a lot of attention, especially in the days and weeks following  one’s arrival, but eventually that attention starts to fade.

Yet as the new Texas men’s basketball head coach, Beard has done all he can to keep the conversation surrounding his program going. He has set high expectations since his introductory press conference in April and has continued to beat the drum for Longhorns men’s basketball ever since.

“We’re not afraid to talk about the NCAA tournament right now, in September, at these practices,” Beard said on Monday. “I mean why not? Why wouldn’t you if that’s the goal?”

Sitting next to the coach was standout guard Marcus Carr, one of the seven players who transferred to Texas following Beard’s hire. Carr cited Beard’s aspirational culture as one of the main reasons the NBA prospect chose to extend his college career.

“Just the (players), us coming together, being an older group and emphasizing that (there) was one goal, and everybody has the same goal in mind,” Carr said on Monday. “That was huge for me. We’re trying to win the championship.”

Stacked with a roster of elite transfers, a reliable set of returning upperclassmen and a few promising new recruits, Beard looks poised for early success if he can bring them all together as a well-oiled machine.

In another break of convention, Beard continues to push a tenacious commitment to make men’s basketball an integral part of the University of Texas student experience.

“To me, at the core of all of this, is the fanbase getting to know our players,” Beard said last Wednesday. “There’s a relationship in college basketball between attendance and winning. It’s undeniable.”

Beard reiterated his earnest commitment to all Longhorn students and fans on Monday.

“We’re working at it. It’s not fluff,” Beard said. “It’s something I try to spend time on every single day, whether it’s a phone call at least, a meeting, or getting out somewhere.”

Beard has already been seen appearing at a fraternity and local student hotspots across the city, sometimes accompanied by athletic director Chris Del Conte.

“We look forward to going to every house, every sorority, every club – anything that’s going on in this campus,” Beard said. “Whether it’s music-based, club-based, or major-based, we want to be a part of it.”

Whether or not Beard can bring men’s basketball to the center stage of student life at the University and even bring a championship to the city are questions that will only be answered with time. But as of right now, Beard is resolute in his ability to deliver on his promises.

“My actions will back up my words,” Beard said. “We’re not messing around. We gotta have a student section to have a home-court advantage.”