Chris Beard has been hired as the 17th head coach of the Texas Tech men’s basketball program, said Texas Tech Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt and Interim University President Dr. John Opperman.
“We are proud and excited to hire a coach of Chris’ caliber,” Hocutt said. “Our program achieved tremendous success this year and I see that as something Chris will build upon and take us to even further heights. We are thrilled to have him back home at Texas Tech.”
Beard guided Little Rock to a historic turnaround in 2015-16 fueled by 30 victories, which was a program single season record and Sun Belt single season mark. The Trojans claimed the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles en route to the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament bid.
Little Rock overcame a 14-point deficit during the final five minutes of the second half and won an 85-83 double overtime thriller over No. 12-ranked and fifth-seeded Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans also registered road victories over San Diego State, Tulsa and DePaul to spark a 10-0 regular season start. The 10-game winning streak to start the season matched a Little Rock program record.
Beard’s 30-5 record in his only season at Little Rock was a 15-game improvement from a 13-18 campaign prior to his arrival. The 15-game improvement was tied for the NCAA’s top spot in 2015-16, while his 30 victories was tied for sixth by a first-year Division I head coach. Little Rock’s 27 wins and .871 winning percentage led the nation during the regular season. For his efforts, Beard collected National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 24 and Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Beard has a 171-50 record, a .774 winning percentage and 24.4 victories per season over his seven seasons as a head coach. His previous head coaching stops include Fort Scott Community College, Seminole State College, McMurry University, Angelo State, Little Rock and UNLV.
Beard’s roots in Lubbock and West Texas run deep. He spent 10 years at Texas Tech which included seven seasons as an assistant coach under Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight and three seasons as an associate head coach under Pat Knight. The Red Raiders racked up 188 victories – the best 10-year stretch in program history – while Tech piled up four NCAA Tournament bids and three NIT appearances. His tenure with the Red Raiders was highlighted by Tech’s run to the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 where the Red Raiders defeated UCLA and No. 11-ranked and three-seeded Gonzaga in the first two rounds.
Beard spent two seasons at Angelo State from 2013-15 where he secured NABC South Central Region and Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year after he led the Rams to a program record-setting 28 wins and the program’s first NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearance in 2014-15. Angelo State began the season with a 17-0 record and finished with a No. 19 national ranking. Prior to Beard’s arrival, the Rams had three losing seasons which included a 71-9 mark in 2012-13.
Before Angelo State, Beard was the head coach at McMurry University and for the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) South Carolina Warriors. McMurry went 19-10 with Beard at the helm during the program’s first season as a Division II member in 2012-13. The Warriors won the 2012 Mid Atlantic Championship, advanced to the ABA finals and notched a 31-2 mark as a first-year franchise.
Beard’s coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Incarnate Word followed by a pair of assistant coaching stints at Abilene Christian and North Texas. Leading into his time with Texas Tech, Beard’s first two head coaching opportunities came at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas and Seminole State College in Oklahoma. He led Seminole State College to a 25-6 record and a No. 14 national ranking in 2000-01 after Fort Scott came away with 19 victories and a NJCAA Regional appearance in 1999-2000.