Just weeks after accepting the position as UNLV's head men's basketball coach, Chris Beard reportedly spurned the Runnin' Rebels in favor of Texas Tech on Friday.
"We are proud and excited to hire a coach of Chris' caliber," athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in the official release. "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."
Per Goodman, Beard's deal with Texas Tech is for five years, although financial terms have yet to be announced.
As provided by ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello, UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy released a statement following Beard's decision to depart from the school:
Upon officially announcing Beard's hiring on April 9, Kunzer-Murphy was extremely excited about how he would fit with the program, according to UNLV Athletics (h/t NCAA.com):
Coach Beard is a straight-forward, trustworthy, plain-speaking, highly talented, exceptionally successful teacher and leader—and we are absolutely certain he is the right person, the best person, to lead our program. He will help our student-athletes grow as young men; he will make our University and community proud, and I have no doubt that he will transform our program and restore its stature regionally and nationally.
The 43-year-old Beard spent the 2015-16 season as head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, leading the Trojans to a 30-5 record and a first-round upset of Purdue in the NCAA tournament.
That success made Beard a hot coaching candidate after just one season at the Division-I level. While he initially chose UNLV, a potential dream job became available when Tubby Smith left Texas Tech for Memphis on Thursday, per ESPN.com.
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Beard served as an associate head coach at Texas Tech from 2001 to 2011, primarily under Hall of Famer Bob Knight.
The Red Raiders went 19-13 this past season and returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign.
With five of the top seven scorers from a deep and talented Texas Tech team set to return for 2016-17, Beard has a chance to make even more headway in the Big 12.
Beard's decision will undoubtedly rub those involved with the UNLV program the wrong way, but his ties to Texas Tech are so strong and the opportunity is so great that it is easy to see why he had a change of heart.
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