Las Vegas Sun staff
Saturday, April 16, 2016 | 9 a.m.
Eight days after being introduced as UNLV's 14th head men's basketball coach, Chris Beard got another introduction — this time at Texas Tech.
“Simply stated, it is great to be home,” Beard said during a news conference this morning welcoming him to the Big 12 school, where he coached for 10 years under Bob Knight and Pat Knight. “Lubbock, Texas, the state of Texas and Texas Tech University is where I have always wanted to be. It is my dream job and always has been.”
Beard was born in the Houston area and has spent 20 of his 25 years as a coach in Texas. The state is home to several of his family members, including his daughters.
“I wanted to thank my three daughters, Avery, Ella and Margo,” Beard said. “Ella and Margo were born in Lubbock, and all three were raised here. I’m just so proud to be able to come home and be closer to you guys.”
Despite leaving UNLV abruptly, Beard had nothing but positives to say about the program. UNLV administrators have received harsh criticism from local fans and media over their handling of the university's coaching search, which came after former coach Dave Rice was fired mid-season.
“I need to thank the people at UNLV,” Beard said. “In a difficult situation, I walked away with the utmost respect for the character and class at that university, and I wanted to publicly thank (President) Len Jessup, Tina Kunzer-Murphy (athletic director) and Darryl Seibel (deputy athletic director, external relations) — three people that I have grown to have a lot of respect for.”
Beard alluded to Hall of Fame football coach Bear Bryant as part of his explanation for leaving UNLV for Texas Tech.
“When I contacted and communicated with the team at UNLV, I explained to them why I was leaving,” Beard said. “One person that I’ve always admired and studied over the years was the legendary Bear Bryant. I have a little bit of Bear Bryant in me as you can see by my (broken) right hand. It was like when he left Texas A&M to go to Alabama and he said, 'You know, when mama calls you gotta go home.' Texas Tech is my mama and I’m home, and I’m so glad to be here.”
As part of Beard's contract with UNLV, Texas Tech will owe the Rebels a $1 million buyout.
According to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, Beard’s contract at Texas Tech is for five years. While details have yet to surface, his compensation is believed to be more than the five-year, $5.75 million he received from UNLV.